This is Part 2 of Raising Readers. If you haven’t read Part 1, go on over and then come right back.
Kids are amazing. They can learn and comprehend so much more than we give them credit for. Building good habits young will benefit them throughout their entire lives. One of the habits I’ve tried to develope in my children is reading, because reading is the foundation of all education.
Here are a few tips to encourage your readers.
- Reading is Not Homework
Although your child’s teacher may say to read for twenty minutes a day, don’t make it homework. It’s fun, it’s a privilege, it’s like going on an adventure.
Reading isn’t about checking something off your to-do list, it’s about expanding your child’s mind, exciting their imagination, and teaching them new things.
- Don’t Push Your Child
If your third grader wants to read picture books and you think he should be reading chapter books, don’t push him.
I had to learn this lesson with my daughter. For the longest time she’d gravitate toward picture books, the great big ones with only a few words on the page. I thought she’d be behind. I could picture her at twenty-five only ever reading comic books and I began freaking out.
I’ll speak from personal experience and say, Take A Chill Pill. Your kids will eventually graduate out of picture books and if they never do, maybe they’ll become a children’s author.
Before you know it, my daughter started reading longer books and she was hooked. Now she reads giant books faster than I can believe.
- Give Them What They Like
I touched on this in yesterday’s post on Raising Readers, but learn your children, their likes and dislikes. Don’t assume because one child loves one type of book, they all will.
Make broad selections and pay attention to which books are attractive to your children. If your child like sports, find books about sports. If your child likes animals, find books with talking animals. If your child is a thinker, find books that will get the gears in their brains turning.
Give your kids books they will enjoy. Once you’ve got them hooked on reading, you can help broaden their selections.
- Visit the Library and Bookstores
There’s something special about being surrounded by shelves and shelves of books. You can’t help but get curious, drawn into the pages of a story. Or, at least drawn to a great book cover. Never understatement the power of fun graphics or a catchy title.
Take your children to story time. Most libraries have story time for toddlers and Barnes & Nobles usually has a story time. When my kids were little, it was a highlight of our week.
- Don’t Discourage Them
When my son was in second grade, he had a teacher who was extremely strict about reading levels.
Now, I get the theory behind keeping kids reading at an appropriate level, but my son loved Hardy Boy books. He was able to read about 95% of all the words in those books and if you questioned him, he could retell the story.
That was good enough for me. I figured he’d get around the 5% of words he couldn’t figure out. He could ask for help or skip them altogether. Either way, he enjoyed what he was reading and he was reading. That was the most important thing.
She forbade him to read, even at home, any books above his reading level and it squashed his enthusiasm to read. Not what you want to do to a child.
Whatever you do, encourage your children. If they mispronounce words, so what. They’ll learn and grow and eventually get it.
Failing is part of learning.
I’m talking about you mom and dad. Model reading for children. They do what we do and not what we say. They want to be just like us (at least when they are little), so model the behavior you want to see in your children.
If you pick up a book and read, it’s more likely your children will do the same. Now, I don’t have any science or facts to back that up, just personal experience, so this is by no means scientific. It’s simply good old-fashioned common sense.
Encourage your readers. Help them form a reading habit. It’s one that will benefit them their whole lives.
Do you have a reader?
How do you encourage your children to read??
As a reading teacher, I think these are GREAT thoughts!! Especially the one about reading not being homework!! The only thing I would add is the importance of parents engaging their children in discussions over what they’ve read. What I see a lot of in my work at the elementary level, is that we have a lot of kids who can read well, but they’re not comprehending what they read. They’re not thinking about it and making meaning from it. A lot of our kiddos are really good at “fake reading”. They’ll sit and stare at one or two pages for twenty minutes. So, discuss it with them. Help them go deeper into the text by asking them what they think about a character’s actions–how would they solve the conflict in the book–what would they do differently if they were the writer–so on and so forth.
Thanks, Tricia, for writing about this topic!!
Apple Hill Cottage says
love, Love, LOVE this! (said the librarian…)
and a pox on that second grade teacher — she should have been fired!!!
I miss nice libraries and story times. I miss book stores in English especially thrift stores with great prices on books. Readers, if you were like me raising five American kids in a foreign country, you’d realize what an awesome privlege it is to frequent your local library. – give your children a gift…..the gift of ‘loving books’. They’ll be so grateful you did.