Reading is an integral part of education. We want our kids to be strong readers so they’ll do well in school. But how can we get them to sit down with a book or a newspaper, especially in the summer, when the green front lawn has never been more inviting and the TV seems to churn out a must-see every single day?
To help our kids become strong readers, we need to nurture a love of reading. We need to step back from asking, “How can I get Sarah to sit down and read?” and move toward, “How can I get her to think positively about reading?” Here are some recommendations:
Encourage your child to read about what interests them.
There are so many books out there! Such a wide selection allows you to choose one that harmonizes with your child’s likes, what they want to do, or learn more about. Enjoyable reading will spawn more reading! Build your child’s interests-whether it’s in ballet, dump-trucks, animals or rocket ships-and enhance literacy.
Make reading a family activity.
Whether it’s at a fixed, weekly time or takes place more randomly, reading as a family will help your child associate books with warm feelings of love and togetherness. Plus, your child will see that Mom and Dad take pleasure in reading and that it’s not just something that has to be done for school. This time will emphasize the enjoyment of reading. Don’t stress about making sure your child could ace a quiz on the content of what he or she is reading. Sit back, relax, and read together.
Compare books to movies.
How many times have you heard someone say, “The book was better than the movie”? Pick a book that has been made into a movie and have your child read it, or read it together. Then, watch the movie, and compare the two. Your child will be able to appreciate the richness of a book that a movie simply cannot capture.
Make reading accessible.
When books, magazines, and newspapers are found all over the house or apartment, your child will see how integral reading is to your home and to your lives. Keep material accessible in the living room, in bedrooms, and yes, even in the bathroom.
Whether it’s on Letterman’s top 10 or Sports Center’s, people love lists! Work with your child to create ongoing top-10 or top-5 lists of favorite books, articles, poems, magazines, or blogs. Include room for honorable mentions. Encourage them to make lists and compare them with their friends.
Reward reading with more reading.
Give reading a positive feel by making it a reward. Take trips to the book store – the immensity and mystery inside can be very intriguing to children. Give them power to choose what they read. Consider giving a gift of a magazine subscription and have it delivered in their name!