Growing up I have fond memories of getting lost in wonderful books. I remember having to hide in the bathroom late at night in order to read page after page because my sister would be bothered by the light and the fact I read aloud. The truth is I fell in love with reading at a very early age and my passion for reading and wealth of knowledge only got bigger.
Today, as a parent and a teacher I want my children to fall in love with reading. I mean think of the numerous benefits – stress reduction, vocabulary expansion, encourages better writing skills, activates the imagination, better focus and concentration and many more.
So the question is, how do we as parents help foster the love of reading in our children?
- Give your child choice – Never underestimate the power of CHOICE. Children love to choose what they read, they feel empowered and it is a way to validate their interests. It has been proven time and time again that when people are given choice in things to do, they are a lot more successful in getting things done. Same goes for children of all ages when they are given a choice in what they read. Children are more likely to start and finish a book when they choose it themselves, which in turn will help you set-up your children to fall in love with reading.
- Lead by example – You often hear people say “you are a reflection of your parents” and this is absolutely true. As parents our behaviors and habits highly influence the way our children turn out to be. This is why if we want our kids to fall in love with reading it is beneficial to model the behavior ourselves. So grab a good book, magazine or any form of print and start reading – not only will you serve as a good example for the children but you get to catch a break too.
- Value reading at home – Families that value reading at home have children that develop a love for reading and learning. How do we show a value for reading at home? Have plenty of reading options at home, set a specific time for reading, read as a family, discuss what you’re reading, surprise your children with books once in a while. All these small habits send your child a message that reading is valued. We want to create an expectation that reading isn’t just for school and it can be done for pleasure at home too.
- Create a specific reading time at home – One the most important habits to have at home is to create a reading routine. Pick a time of day where the expectation is that everybody is reading at the same time. It can be you are all reading the same book together or everyone is reading their own book. The idea is to set time apart for reading to enjoy as a family and decompress for the day.
- Create a cozy and comfy space to read – There is nothing better than curling up in your favorite reading spot with a good book and letting your imagination take flight. Creating a reading nook for your children will encourage them to read for pleasure on a daily basis. This can be anything from getting a comfy reading chair, laying on the couch, reading in bed under the covers, a nice quiet and well lit spot that is fun and inviting. The idea is to form a positive association for reading.
- Visit the library – Visiting the library can surely be magical. The library is fun for the whole family. They have a wonderful array of programs, print on all genres and topics, they even have computers available for children to use. One of the extra perks of visiting the library is that it teaches your child responsibility. It is always a good idea to sign them up for their very own library card and teach them about signing out books and returning them on time and in good condition.
- Talk about reading with your children – One of the most important habits to engage in with your children is to talk about their reading – this sends your children a message that reading and understanding their reading is important. Talking about their reading helps you to create a special bond with your child and in the process it helps them to understand, summarize and make connections with the text.