I’m so pleased to have Jessica Tosser of Bookworm Academy guest posting for us today! After reading Beyond The Tiger Mom, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to how we encourage math and literacy skills in our home. Jessica is sharing her top 9 easy ways to create a child who loves to read with us.
9 Easy Ways To Create a Child Who LOVES To Read
1) Read Together
Reading is a great family activity. It is a wonderful way to create lasting memories and have fun in the small moments. For children that struggle with reading or who “don’t like to read,” reading together with them is especially important. Many parents start believing that once their child is in upper elementary or middle school and can read on their own, that there is no reason to sit down and read with them. But this is one of the best things you can do for your child and your relationship with them!
2) Read every single day
Children that truly enjoy reading are the children that have reading embedded in their daily routine. I recommend at least 20 minutes each day, but more if you have time. The biggest obstacle to this that I see in families are schedules that are too full. Life is so busy with sports games, dance recitals, school events, and so much more. It is important to set our priorities and make sure we leave time for them in our schedule. Reading a half hour before bedtime works really well for me and my three year old son. But to make this happen I have to make sure that we are actually ready to read at 7:30 each evening with no other distractions.
3) Talk about books
Talking with our children improves their vocabularies and expands their knowledge at a rapid rate. Simply talk with your child about the books he/she is reading and ask questions. Then do the same with the books that you are reading. Children begin to realize the importance of reading when parents are constantly talking about books.
4) Have books in every room in your house
I believe that having books on one shelf in the living room is simply not enough. The idea of reading a book only crosses your mind when you see that one shelf in that one room. But what if you put books all throughout your house? They could be in small tubs or simply a small stack of books in every room. Your child will think about reading and has a much higher chance of picking up books to read throughout the day. The more books your child is around, the more your child will read. This leads to children that love to read!
5) Library time
Making weekly (or at least bi-weekly) trips to the library can be a huge motivator for some children to read. It’s like a candy store, but with books instead. My son absolutely loves going to the library for story time, puppet shows, and sing-alongs. What does your local library offer?
6) Good fit books
Children need books to read that are on their level. This is SO important! There is nothing that will kill a child’s desire to read faster than being forced to read a book that is above what they can read or understand.
7) Be sure to give your child CHOICE!
Choice is a huge motivator for adults and children. Imagine if you were told what you had to read each day. The person telling you what to read does not have the same interests or personality as you. How long would you want to read? I know I would lose all motivation to read if someone told me what I had to read. The same goes for children. We can help guide them to the correct books with their interests in mind. But as soon as we tell a child, “You must read this,” chances are they will shut down and it will not be something they want to do for themselves.
8) Set an example
Children imitate what the adults closest to them in their lives are doing. I have seen this over and over again with the families I work with. Parents that read have children that read. It really is that simple.
9) Give reading as a gift
“Reading should not be presented to children as a chore, a duty. It should be offered as a gift.” –Kate DiCamillo, children’s author.
I know that when we offer children the gift of reading, most children take that gift and cherish it forever.
So what other ideas do you have to create not only children that can read, but children that LOVE to read? I would love to hear your thoughts!
Jessica Tosser is the founder of Bookworm Academy. She provides quality resources, tools, and training to help parents bring a love of reading to children.