I gobbled up that book as quickly as my eyes could scan the pages. Most of us wish that for our children, to look over and see their nose buried in a book dreaming of a spectacular adventure. How can you get your child to engage in more reading for fun?
(Please enjoy this guest post from Lindsey over at Crumbs in the Couch)
How to get kids to love reading
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Make visits to the library a part of your weekly routine.
Take a huge grocery bag and let your child fill it up with a wide variety of book choices. With my daughter who is 7, this means a mix of books she can read and ones I can read to her.
I don’t say no, she can just grab anything from the shelves at no cost to me. The investment is simply time, but this weekly trip shows that reading is a priority in your home.
In our home, we read before bed. I send the children up to their rooms thirty to sixty minutes before I expect them to be asleep. This guarantees that they are getting a chance to read every night.
For my son, who is an advanced reader, he simply continues with whatever chapter book he is engrossed in. For my younger daughter who is a reluctant reader, we spend twenty minutes together with me reading to her and her taking turns with sentences.
Then she has free time to read in her bed. Sometimes this is just a time where she flips through books, but to me it is exposure to print and that is all I can do.
Read to Your Child
Sometimes your child’s reading ability does not match their vocabulary and imaginary thought. This is a great chance to teach reading skills through read alouds.
I promise that this will become a special bonding time. If your child is capable of reading the book that you are sharing, you just may find that you can stop at a critical point and let your child know they can go ahead and read ahead if they would like.
Find a Series
Letting your child have the choice of what they want to read is a very important factor in whether they will be encouraged to increase their reading time. I love to read, but I often get stuck between books. When I find an author I like, it is an amazing achievement since I can just hop on to the author’s next book.
Current trends in children literature makes this much easier than in the past, as there are a huge variety of book series even for the most beginning readers. Once your child is hooked on a series, make sure to have the next book available.
I have found that sharing between friends is a great cost savings in this area as often times our library has not caught up with the latest books in a series. I am also thankful for Amazon prime shipping! If you’re looking for a good series to get your kiddo started, these are great:
- Elephant and Piggie by Mo Willems (for your youngest readers)
- Mr. Putter and Tabby by Cynthia Rylant (ending first grade beginning second)
- Mercy Watson by Kate DiCamillo (2nd grade)
When my son was in first grade, he was very reluctant to stick with a chapter book even though he was capable of reading at that level. Enter in the banana split challenge.
My son wanted to try a banana split, which I had no objections to so why not combine that as a reward for meeting the goal of finishing a chapter book independently! In two days the book was done, the banana split was enjoyed and he realized he could read chapter books and never looked back.
Later as he grew as a reader and started to use Accelerated Reader at school, he was not motivated, much by the program. We took the amazing fact that by taking quizzes on the books he read, it also tracked his words read.
As his words increased with each quiz, we set a goal of reading one million words. It made him increase his reading time and the level of the books he chose.
Creating a family of readers can be difficult in most families, but when it clicks the rewards are amazing. Students who read independently become better readers, score higher on achievement tests in all subject areas, and have greater content knowledge than those who do not (Krashen 1993; Cunningham and Stanovich 1991; Stanovich and Cunningham 1993).
Remember that you have to find a balance, let your child lead the way through choice, model reading, and have a multitude and variety of text for them to choose from!
Lindsey Johnston is writer of Crumbs in the Couch. She is mother of 2, and a reading specialist. Her blog is a mix of deals, parenting ideas and dilemmas and just about anything in between. Be sure to check her out on facebook and twitter too!!
So, tell us, are the kids in your family book lovers, or is it a struggle to get them to read?
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