I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love reading. Characters in books are my friends, and I have to reacquaint myself with their lives over and over again.
Frankly, I would rather read than be a responsible adult; and if I am behind in my housework, it is because I stole a few extra minutes to finish the book .
It is a no-brainer that reading develops many faculties in a child. A larger vocabulary, better grammar and spelling, writing skill – all of these are positively affected the more a child reads. Children learn from what they are exposed to; so the more the immersion in great stories, the better their language skills will be.
It’s important to realize, though, that it’s not enough just to teach our child to read – we must encourage them to LOVE to read. Obviously this can’t be forced, and I’m sure there are exceptions to what I’m about to say; but I believe most children will learn to love reading if we practice just a few habits in the home.
Tips to Encourage Your Kids to Love Reading
# ) Set an example. This is the obvious first step. If your children don’t see you reading, they will see no reason to read for themselves. Some people claim they don’t have time to read. I confess that I’ve never understood that. I can ALWAYS find time to read, y’all. If I were on the Titanic, and it was sinking, I’d be reading on the life boat.
But seriously, if there is time for watching TV, there is time to read. If there is time for Facebook, there is time to read. Your children need to see you reading your own books for your own pleasure, if they are going to want to do the same.
# Read aloud. I think every parent knows the importance of this one, especially when the kids are too young to read for themselves. That time spent reading a bedtime story is so beneficial on so many levels, and most of us do put it into practice. It’s also good to continue the practice when they’re older, even as a family group sometimes. Then each of the ones that can read can take a turn being the speaker, as well as mom and dad. What better way to encourage them to love reading than to build a fun family time around it?
#) Teach respect for books. The things we value are the things we treat carefully. That goes in reverse, too. If we teach our children to take good care of books, they will see them as having value. Obviously this would be done in an age-appropriate manner. No writing in a book, avoid folding down the pages, be careful around food, etc.
# Make library visits a priority. We go to the library every two weeks, and the library workers have become friends. Going to the library regularly means there is a constant influx of new stories in our home. There is also access to many types of books about many different subjects. This encourages the children to explore their interests and realize they can learn lots just by reading.
# Have LOTS of books in your home. A child won’t learn to love reading if there are few books handy. There are many sources for inexpensive books, so cost does not need to be an issue. When a child claims to be bored, you can send him to the bookshelf. Encourage reading as something to do for fun. This is easier when there is a plentiful supply to choose from. Your child will begin to find his favorites, and then they will encounter the joys of re-reading, seeing new things the second and third time around, and making fictional friends.
# Watch movies based on books
. Watching movies based on books leads to great discussions, including the age-old question of which was better and why. We all love to compare the director’s conception of a book with our own imaginings of it. This one has to be used in moderation, however, if one wants to foster a love of READING, lol.
#) Monitor what your child reads. this one is VERY important to me. There are many parents out there who do not bother to make sure that their child is reading age-appropriate material. Just because it is in the juvenile section of the library does not automatically make it a helpful book for your child to read.
Many books are full of poor behavior, mysticism, disrespect to parents, sinful choices with no consequences, etc. — even those written for children.
Also, it IS possible for a library to wrongly categorize a book; I’ve found full-on sex scenes in books that were shelved as juvenile.
Please, please, please: help your child choose which books to read. Read them first if you have to. You cannot always undo the wrong understandings of important things in life that can be fostered in a child’s thinking due to what they read.
#Do not legislate book selection. Yes, DO carefully supervise what your child is allowed to read, even recommend books you think he might like, but do not force books on them that you think they SHOULD read. Of course, for school there is a certain amount of this that must be done, but even then, keep it to a minimum. We all remember how a great-sounding book lost all its excitement when we had to answer comprehension questions or write a book report. Allow your kids to read mostly just for the fun of it, without being required to complete formal assignments.