With technology booming, reading is even more important than ever. As a parent of an 8-year-old, I’m constantly faced with questions like “can I play Wii?” instead of “can I sit down with a book?”
Here are some ways I try to stay on top of the importance of reading with my kids.
Set up a designated daily time to read. If possible, plan it out and plan it around after-school activities, dinner and family time. Not easy is it? I know our daily schedules are all over the place so, for our 8-year-old, we picked the 30 minutes before bedtime. This works for us because he goes to bed slightly earlier than his younger brothers.
Some nights he reads quietly in his room, some nights one of us will read with him but every night before bed, he knows that’s his time to read. For the younger boys (ages 1 and 3), I read to them before nap and again before they go to bed. The youngest (at 15 months) is just now starting to sit and listen to the story but it took a couple of months for him to become interested. I kept him in the same room, allowing him to roam and explore (with one eye always watching him), and when he figured out that this was our routine, he became interested.
2. Attend Story Time
Most bookstores, libraries and even some small children’s shops have scheduled Story Times for different age groups. Pick up a schedule or ask the next time you are at a bookstore, or library, and follow your favorite baby shops on Facebook to learn about scheduled events, like Story Time.
3. Make Books Accessible
If you read my Spring Cleaning plan, you noticed I gave up on the idea that my house will look like I live straight out of the pages of a Pottery Barn magazine. While my entertainment center happens to be Pottery Barn, the contents on the shelves are most definitely not… anymore. Instead, I house toys in baskets and stack children’s books on the shelves. My kids are much more likely to pick up a book mid-day when they are at eye level and within reach.
4. Create a Home Library
It doesn’t have to be an entertainment center- you can turn any bookshelf, toy basket, dresser or bin into a place for books. We have a bookshelf in the playroom that has books on the top shelf and toy bins on the bottom shelf. We also have two mini bookshelves that act as nightstands in our two oldest kid’s rooms.
5. Change It Up
If you have school-age children, change it up with some magazines. If you subscribe to, checkout or buy the right ones, your child will still be reading! Some of our favorites are: Highlights, Sports Illustrated for Kids, National Geographic for Kids and Ladybug
6. Everything In Moderation
Technology is not going to slow down and while holding an actual book in your hands is wonderful, mixing in other ways to read can spark an interest, especially in children. While the Leapfrog Tag combines technology with an actual book, educational programs through channels and organizations, such as PBS Kids, have tools to aid in reading; like the Super Why! App.
7. Make It Fun
Read a book with your child, take turns reading out loud, even read the book before your child then surprise him/her when you strike up a conversation about the main character. Encourage your older child to draw scenes from the book (if they enjoy art) or do something that the character does. Flat Stanley is a fun book to read while learning to write and send letters; or simply explore the fun things in your town
8. Lead By Example
If your kids see you sitting down with a book, they are more likely to want to do the same.
What do you do to encourage your children to read?