My son is a reader. You know the type of kid I’m talking about, he always has his nose in a book, loves visiting the library, and new books are listed on the top of his Christmas list. As a former teacher I knew how important it was for kids to LEARN to read, but as a mom I’ve learned how much more important it is for kids to LOVE to read. It doesn’t matter if you have babies or teenagers it’s never too late to get your kids hooked on books.
Read to Your Kids
This is the tip that parents hear most, but reading to your children doesn’t mean just little kids. Lots of parents stop reading to their children once their children learn to read, but big kids love to be read to also. Once your children learn to read you can also partner read with them. That’s where they read a paragraph or chapter, and then you read a paragraph or chapter. When you’re reading to them it’s the perfect time to ask some questions about the story and have them make predictions about what might happen next.
Love Your Library
Jacksonville has some great libraries and some amazing children’s librarians. Not only do they offer story time programs for kids of all ages, but they are also a great resource when it comes to helping your child find books they will love. Plus, everyone in your family, even little kids, can get a library card for FREE.
Allow Kids to Pick Their Own Books
Parents sometimes have a preconceived notion about what types of books their kids should be reading. But if you want your children to LOVE to read, then you need to let them choose their own books. The amazing thing about books is that there really is something for everyone. Does your child love horses or fairies? There’s a book for that. Looking for some gross toilet humor? There’s a whole series about that. If your child only wants to read comic books, LET THEM. Reading is reading, and if children are interested and engaged in what they are reading, they will want more of it.
Embrace the Series
When your child does find a particular series, or author, or genre that they love, be prepared to RUN WITH IT. There is great satisfaction that can come from reading an entire series of books. As a mom, I love it when my son discovers a new series because the “what am I going to read next?” question is answered. That hunger for the next book can spark a love for reading that will last a lifetime.
Never Use Reading as a Punishment
This is a really tough one that some parents do unintentionally. You never want to send your child to time out, or to their room, and tell them they have to sit there and read. Even though you don’t mean to make reading part of their punishment, children might start to see it that way. Reading should never be punitive, or something they have to do because they’ve been bad.
Turn Off Electronics
If given the choice between watching tv, playing video games, and reading, most kids would not choose to pick up a book. In our fast paced digital world, books aren’t always able to compete with the latest games and movies. Limiting screen time is just one way to encourage kids to find adventure in literature.
Make Time for Reading
In addition to turning off electronics, it’s important to make time for reading EVERY DAY. For my family, this typically occurs in the evenings when I need the kids to wind down. Setting aside time for reading shows your kids that it is a priority for your family.
Make Books Part of your Family Culture
In our house books are celebrated. We encourage family and friends to give our kids books for holidays and birthdays. Books are seen as treasured gifts. By making books part of your family values kids will learn to respect, value, and love them. By taking just a few minutes out of your busy day to sit and read with your child, or visit a local library, you can be igniting a passion for literacy that will last them a lifetime. I challenge all the moms (and dads) out there to share a favorite book with your little ones.