As a reader, I have always dreamed of the day when I would be old enough to sit down with my own kids and enjoy a great book. Now in my mid-thirties and with two kids of my own, I am finally at that point in life.
When we had our little girls, I wanted to make sure that they loved and enjoyed reading just as much as I did. My “Type A” personality didn’t allow me to leave anything to chance, so my husband and I came up with a game plan to create mini bookworms.
After five years of using this game plan, it is safe to say now that it has worked. Our little ones love books, reading time and are working diligently to learn how to read by themselves. In light of this reading revelation, I wanted to share some of the tips we’ve used to raise our kids into the world of literacy.
1. Schedule uninterrupted reading time daily.
Put down the electronics and carve out some time dedicated to reading together. Not only will this show kids that reading is important, but more importantly it allows children to feel loved and cared for!
2. Read different types of texts.
Yes, books are wonderful, but don’t forget about all of the other types of reading material this world has to offer! Magazines, newspapers, comics… the options are endless! Don’t limit your children’s readings to just books!
3. Give the child the choice.
Kids should have the opportunity to choose what they read. Kids will gravitate towards topics and books that interest them. This enhances their love of reading and keeps them looking forward to reading time.
4. Silent reading time is important.
Even if your child isn’t reading yet, silent reading time is critical. Children need to see examples of adults reading, so what better way than to sit down together and read silently? You choose your own book and allow the child to choose their book as well. If the child is older, that may mean a chapter book or for a younger child it may mean a few picture books. Set a time that is realistic for the level of your child and read silently but together.
5. Go visit your local library!
The library is an invaluable resource for people, but especially parents! Inquire at your local library about story time for children and other special programs that are available. Let your child wander down the stacks and handpick what they want to read. If you have an older kid, they can sign up for their very own library card! Sign up and then celebrate the occasion!
6. Repetition is good!
Children will naturally gravitate towards books that they love. This may mean re-reading the same book over and over. This is a good sign! Kids who want to read the same book again and again want to read! Hang in there parent, I know it gets old reading “Green Eggs and Ham” for the five millionth time… but you’re creating a little book lover!
7. Ask questions and discuss the books.
Reading with children shouldn’t be a passive exercise! Ask your child to make predictions, answer questions, point to things in the pictures and engage your child in discussions! This helps children to get the most out of the reading experience.
8. Take advantage of opportunities to read.
Waiting at the doctor’s office or dentist? There is usually a small collection of books available. Don’t be afraid to pick one up and read with your child. There are also some children’s books that are small and portable. Toss one into your baby bag, purse, car etc. and then you’ll always have some reading material available in case of some downtime.
9. Be animated when reading aloud!
Use inflection when reading and change the tone of your voice. Do voices, make noises and have fun when reading aloud. Children love this and will be much more engaged and entertained! Don’t be afraid to really jazz it up!
10. Snuggle up!
Most kids like to be cuddled. If your child fits into that category, have them grab a book, crawl up into your lap and start reading! Hugs, kisses and snuggles are important for child development as well, so pairing these with a great book seems like a no brainer!
Kids will look to you for guidance, so no matter which of these tips you use don’t be afraid to tell them how important reading is to you and they’ll follow your lead.
PS: If you’re looking for some good children’s books to start with, check out our Little Bookworms tab for a list of our favorites.