Monday, November 4, 2013

Reading and Children - Tips and Tricks

I love books.  I love everything about them, and I love sharing them with my family.  Mindy sent me this incredible article from Bright Horizons about how to foster that love of books with your children, and it got me thinking.  For the whole article, check it out HERE.  For my own tips and tricks, keep on reading!

Make the Library an Adventure -  Whether your library has an amazing kids' section, or a shelf or two, do your best to make it an outing you share with your kids.  It makes a perfect "date" to browse new titles with just you and your child.  Enlist the librarians' help in finding new treasures.  And above all, let them have their own library card!  Even if they never use it (because you're checking out all the books), it's so amazing to see their pride.

Our former library had this miniature model of how the library used to look, and my kids loved turning on the lights and taking a peek at the grandeur of the old building.  It was a must-see every visit!
Read with your Kids -  I know, I know.  This piece of advice is everywhere. And it's such a no-brainer … of course you should read with your kids!  However, I've found myself forgetting the joy in sharing a story with my oldest reader (in second grade, but reading above that).  Just recently, we solved a bad day by picking up a chapter book he hadn't shown interest in (he thought it was too hard), and just reading it together.  I made him promise he wouldn't read ahead without me after a few chapters, and left the room.  No surprise, when I came back, he had torn through two more chapters and was fully engrossed.

Reading with your kids not only teaches them fluency in reading, but it helps them form the images in their minds.  Instead of concentrating on how the words ought to be constructed and pronounced, they get to immerse themselves in the story.  And who doesn't love getting lost in a really great story!?

Play Up their Interests -  Have a space-obsessed kid?  Help him check out a book or two!  History buff?  Magic Treehouse, there you go!  Science?  Why, hello Ms. Frizzle!   It is so much fun to see my kids get all giddy over a book that they've picked out, and over a subject that they want to research.  Even more fun, help them make a book using the facts they've learned.  I have quite a few of these treasures in my files, and they make me tear up every time I see them.  The pride on my kids' faces as they present me with a book they wrote all on their own - kind of worth every tantrum that week!

Make it a Family Affair - Reading is great for some one-on-one time, but how wonderful is it to sit down with the whole family and read a book?  We love read-athons at our house, and while I admit that some turn into sugar fests, my kids love them whether or not we have treats.  It's so much fun to see the older kids get so happy "helping" the younger kids read a book, and the younger kids are so thrilled to be included.  And who doesn't love a great pillow fort?!

Make Reading Time a Daily Occurrence -  We have a strict lights-out policy at our house, and my kids are well-trained to know that if they want to read, they need to be in bed at least twenty minutes before then.  Even my two year old enjoys the time to read by himself (as evidenced by the 32 books we pulled out of his bed a few days ago), and it helps calm their minds before bed.  Sometimes.  My son has broken lights-out on more than one occasion because he "couldn't find a stopping place".  (That was my favorite excuse, too.  Still is, in fact!)  More than that, though, we encourage our kids to grab a book on the way to a doctor's appointment, or on any errand that involves time in the car.  It's tricky sometimes keeping track of the car books, but they take such pride in having their own distraction.

I'd love to hear your tricks on helping your children love reading.  Whatever way you choose to go, make sure you've got a book in hand! 

1 comment:

Meredith said...

Thanks for letting us peer into how you help your kids develop the love of reading. I love reading too and want my kids to develop a similar if not same love of reading.

I think, to often I let the busyness of the day, the taking care of the house and little ones take over my brain space. I forget that I need to make the time for my older ones to sit down and read with them. So thank you for the friendly reminder. I think I will start the family read-a-thon this weekend! Maybe even get an audiobook out of the library!

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