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Our children sometimes face experiences where they are not able to able to make choices. School systems for example, make decisions on what literature our children will be exposed to with sometimes mixed reviews. Growing a love for reading starts with showing your children how reading is part of your everyday life. Modeling the behaviour you want your children to display goes a long way in influencing their actions. Also, thinking of new and creative ways to add reading into your family’s life encourages connections that will continue to affect your child’s academic ability. 

Here are some other tips for helping kids grow to love reading:

 

Read to Your Child From the Beginning

From early infancy, and even in utero, a parent’s voice becomes a source of comfort and stimulation. “And not just at bedtime. Buy board books, and even and cloth books as some of your child’s first toys. Carry them around with snacks in the diaper bag. Create “cozy time,” a ritual of connection in which you both associate love and cuddling with reading” (Aha! Parenting, 2020). The connection continues to grow even more as a parent takes time to read to a child, as they continue to experience stages of growth. If the child views those times as pleasurable, he or she will be more likely to see reading in general as a pleasurable experience. 

 

Join Your Local Library

Library membership is underestimated in the wake of the internet craze. Borrowing books from the local library allows a child to select books that are of interest and then trade them in for other books without the extra cost. Most neighbourhood libraries offer free library cards, which allow each child to take out a certain number of books for a limited time. A library membership teaches responsibility, as well as provides motivation to finish the book before the due date. They will need to take good care of the borrowed books and return them on time to avoid fees.

 

Bookstore Bonanza

Visit your neighbourhood bookstore on a regular basis. Many bookstores have areas created just for children with attractive décor such as brightly painted murals, comfy couches, mini-stages, toys, puzzles and learning games. Children can select high interest books that reflect their interests or try a new genre.  

 

Make Reading a fun Event

Tent Night – Kids love making tents with sheets. Everyone can participate in making a tent city. Once the tent city is built, everyone can bring their favourite snack, flashlight and book to share.

Tea Party – Little girls love tea parties. Tea parties can be simple with a few cookies and lemonade or tea in a teapot. Why not ask guests to bring their favourite book to be shared at the party?

Treehouse – Have parents and kids imagine what they would bring to include in their treehouse. Suggest bringing a favourite book to pass the time. 

 

Tackle School Texts Together

Students can become overwhelmed when assigned novels in school along with all their other homework. In order to keep up with what your children are being exposed to and to play an active role in their education, purchase the same book or ask for an extra copy from the school. Read together, taking turns for each chapter. Have conversations based on what is happening in the story and how the characters are responding to the events of the story. Participating in discussions with your child helps to increase retention of details and deepens their understanding.

 

Movie Night

One way of adding joy to your child’s reading experience is to offer a selection of books that also come in movie form. Discuss the goal of reading the book first and then enjoy movie night. Compare and contrast the differences between the movie and the book. 

 

Road Trip

Before you go on the road, visit the library and stock up on audio books. Select different levels for each of your children. Direct them to spend some of their travel time listening to the book or pick a family friendly book that has wide appeal. Listen to it together and enjoy a few laughs while on the road!

 

Use Screen-Time Wisely

Despite their dramatic response to any of our attempts to limit screen time, we know that it’s not healthy for our kids (or us for that matter!) to be glued to a screen for all hours of the day. However, many recent research articles have shown that not all screen-time is bad, and there are many valuable things to gain by using technology to enhance education. It’s not so much that your children are using digital devices that’s concerning, it’s what they’re doing or consuming while on those devices that you should be keeping an eye on. Try looking for educational games, encouraging them to read an e-book, or using the device to learn a new skill. They may not thank you now, but they will later when their academic scores reflect diverse exposure to educational content.

 

Sources Cited

Markham, Dr. Laura. “Raise a Child who Loves to Read”. Aha! Parenting https://www.ahaparenting.com/parenting-tools/intelligent-creative-child/child-loves-read.

 

 

 

About Karla Thomas Jackson

AvatarKarla is currently an English Language teacher having worked in the Baltimore Public County School system for 27 years. In the past, she attended Penn State University, where she earned a Bachelor's degree in English. In addition, she went on to earn a MAT (Master's in Teaching) in English and a MA in English from Binghamton University. In 1991, she began teaching for the Baltimore County School system, also adding an ESOL/ELL certification under Maryland State Education in 2015 and is also currently a tutor for students from China.

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