It’s no secret that those that enjoy reading, write better, have a broader range of vocabulary, comprehend quicker, and score higher on the SAT. So it’s an excellent goal to instill a love for reading in our kids and encourage them to want to learn to read. The thing is we can say it to our children all day long but that isn’t enough. We need to do more than just say it to them over and over again.
I asked a good friend of mine how she got her kids to love reading so much. Below are five things or ideas she implemented and shared with me. All of her children are avid readers today with one of them scoring an almost perfect score on the English portion of the SAT!
1. GRAB YOUR LAUNDRY BASKET – Take your laundry basket to the library and be sure to fill it up every time you go! My library will let you check out up to 30 books! Kids LOVE to look at books and since you will have them for a week or two you want lots for them to look at and you will be reading many of them to your kids so you will want variety as well. TIP: When you get home find a place where these books will live so you can have your laundry basket back. My friend had a cute decorative wicker basket that sat in front of her fireplace. She transferred the books to that basket and that is where they stayed until it was time to go back to the library.
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2. WHAT ARE THEIR INTERESTS? – Find what your child is interested in and then get every library book on the subject. You may need to ask a librarian for help. Be prepared to read the books to your child or parts of the book. TIP: Be sure to point your finger to words and talk a lot about what you two see. For instance, if its “trains” then talking about the different types of trains and their jobs and asking your child their favorite will start them in a direction of wanting to learn more on the subject and wanting to learn to read so they don’t have to wait on mom and dad to read to them. Trust me… it will happen!
3. USE THE SEASON OR A THEME – As holidays and seasons come and go throughout the year be sure and pick up all the books you can get your hands on from the library related to it. For instance, when the fall weather starts you can pick up all sorts of books about this season and read them to your kiddos. Reading to your kids throughout the day is a HUGE step in the right direction to getting them interested in reading. And, with the upcoming Fall season, you can grab my list of 10 Fabulous Fall Books for FREE! Just click on the button below and you can get it instantly.
4. THERMOMETER GOAL STRATEGY (THINK UNITED WAY) – Get a poster board and draw one of those thermometers like you see companies that are trying to raise money. But instead of money, each tick mark is a book your little one has read to you! Or, you can make it a book you have read to them. When the thermometer is colored and filled to the very top then they win something. It doesn’t have to be something you purchase. It can be a movie night where they pick out the movie or have tea with mom using the special china. Let them decide and color in the thermometer. TIP: It doesn’t have to be a thermometer. It can be anything your child colors to track their progress.
5. WRITE A STORY – Don’t overthink this one and think you have to suddenly be a fantastic children’s author. Get some paper and a black sharpie and write a story about your child using words they can read. It’s okay to draw stick figures! Your child will love it! Trust me! They will giggle and laugh and think you’re the silliest.. fun times guaranteed! If coming up with simple sentences seems too difficult then just get a Bob Book and use those sentences to get you started. Below is an example from a Bob Book. Now surely, you could do the same! Just change “Samantha” to your kid’s name. Your child will want to read a story about themselves drawn by Mommy over and over again. This is a sure-fire way to get them reading!
Let me preface that all these ideas won’t work unless you read to your child more than just at bedtime. And also listen to them read to you more than just once a day for 5-10 minutes. I suggest 3-4 times a day for 5-10 minutes. That is JUST A SUGGESTION! The idea is to read often to them or have them read to you as much as possible. This is the best way I know to keep books a part of their lives. TV and movies and video games should be dialed way back in their early years otherwise they will gravitate to the glowing screen. It’s just easier! There is plenty of time for them to learn how to use an iPad or a smartphone or a computer. Get them reading FIRST!!
I hope this post has encouraged you and got you thinking about how books and a love for reading can be different this year in your home. If your house has to have clutter, let it be cluttered with books! And remember you don’t have to spend a dime! Use your public library!