There are many responsibilities that come with being a parent, one of which is encouraging your kids to read.
Reading is a vital skill for school and life, and it’s a skill that should be taught early. Encouraging your kids to read from an early age is a great way to plant a seed and give them a crucial advantage, especially if you’re working together with your toddler’s school.
However, after planting the seed it’s vital you nurture it and find ways to keep your kids reading on their own. Here are a few ways to foster a love of reading in your children and help set them up for success.
1.Read to your kids every day
Reading aloud is a good introduction to reading, especially in the case of very young children. Your children may not take naturally to reading themselves, but they still crave quality time with you. You can read to your kids while they sit in your lap, making it a more positive experience for them, and giving you a chance to bond. Start them at an early age (the earlier the better), and begin with simple, age-appropriate stories. As your kids get older, you can find longer stories to hold their attention. Listening is also a good way to give tired readers a break, keeping them from getting overwhelmed too quickly as they read.
2.Be a good role model
Children often copy their parents. Your kids will take their first cues from you. Keep in mind that your kids learn more from what they see you doing rather than what you say. Read voraciously to give your little ones a model to emulate. Setting a good example sends a powerful message and helps reinforce the importance of reading to your children. Even better, you can encourage your kids to sit and read their books with you to let them share in your reading time.
3.Visit your local library
The library can be a magical place for young children, a place where they can explore and find books that catch their eye. Make some time to visit with your kids; it’s a great way to explore literary preferences, read together, and bond. Many libraries also host activities to make reading more fun for children. Check with your local library for any upcoming events that can help make reading exciting for your children. Such events work well as school field trips, so make a suggestion at the kids’ school when given the opportunity. What’s more, kids can pick books to read at home, so the fun doesn’t have to stop. Picking their favourite books can be a good experience for your kids in itself. Finally, make sure each of your kids gets a library card. A library card is a great way to help your kids make the reading experience all their own.
4.Target your kids’ interests
Aside from getting your kids to read in general, it’s also important you get your kids to read about subjects that grab their interest. If your kids are interested in dinosaurs, for instance, stock up on books about dinosaurs to get their attention. In many cases, children don’t show any interest in reading because they haven’t found a subject that resonates with them. Expose your children to books on different topics (e.g., science or history) to find one that clicks. The more interested a child is in a subject, the easier it is to find books that can grab them and keep them coming back for more.
5.Create a cozy reading area
Making a reading nook for your kids can be a great way to make reading all the more enticing for them. A quiet, relaxing place to read can go a long way toward encouraging your little ones to curl up with a good book for hours. Many kids like building forts; channel that tendency into creating a space to encourage more reading. Work with your kids to personalize their nook and make it a place they’d like to spend plenty of time reading. Remember to stock the reading corner with plenty of books within easy reach. Comfy cushions and warm blankets are also smart additions to enhance the reading experience.
6.Encourage reading anytime, anywhere
Having a personalized reading nook is nice, but it also helps to encourage your children to think of reading as something they can do anytime, anywhere. One thing you can do is keep favourite books nearby so they can always read when they feel like it. Packing their personal books in their bags when they head off to school is one good example, as is carrying a book for whenever you expect a long wait. Not only is it a great way to encourage reading, but it also gives your kids something to do when they might otherwise get bored. For more tech-savvy kids, you can also consider downloading ebook apps for kids for when you travel.
It may get tedious to do the same things over again, but repetition is an important part of any child’s development. It’s not out of the ordinary for children to pick their favourite books every reading time. Repetition is how children learn speech development, reading comprehension, and vocabulary enhancement. Encourage your little ones’ tendency to read the same books each time to help build a strong foundation. Books with rhymes are an especially effective method to teach reading. Rhyming is great for helping kids recognize patterns and sounds. Check out some classic children’s books, like the works of Dr. Seuss, to help your kids get the hang of reading while keeping them delighted and engaged.
8.Check out book-to-movie adaptations
Over the years, plenty of children’s books have been adapted into movies (e.g., Harry Potter or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory). One way to make reading fun is to help your kids make the connection between the movies and the books. Read the book first, at least a few chapters, then switch to the movie later. The movie can also work for family movie night, giving everyone a chance to watch and have some fun. Later, you can talk about the book and the movie together to get your kids’ input, including which one they liked more and why. Build up the excitement for the reading and the movie, so kids associate reading with fun.
Fostering a love of reading isn’t a responsibility left only to the schools. Like other activities, your kids take their example from you, so teaching a love for reading starts at home. Keep these ideas in mind to help make reading fun and engaging for your kids as well as a way to strengthen your bond.
At Sunrise Montessori, our staff and programs focus on giving our students the skills they need to get a head start in life. We work very closely with parents to ensure that children learn the right skills and values to become successful lifelong learners. Give us a call now at (905) 477-2833 and make an appointment to see our facilities for yourselves. We’ll be glad to accommodate you and your child.