I love to read and I wanted to raise my children to be readers.
My husband isn’t a big reader. He always opts to watch the movie, but the movie is never as good as the book. Ever. Reading doesn’t come naturally to him, so he reserves it for the Bible. I honestly don’t think he read enough as a child. Now it’s a chore instead of a pleasure.
So many of our habits begin in childhood. It’s never too early to start teaching our children good habits.
My son argued with me all the way through kindergarten and first grade. He didn’t like to read and he certainly didn’t want to waste play time reading. I couldn’t understand it, because my son was a bright child. He was born an old man and reading seemed a good fit for his personality. Every time we sat to do his reading assignments, he fussed and whined and complained. So, I tried reading the assignments to him first. No difference. It wasn’t that he couldn’t read; he just didn’t want to read.
Making my son a reader became my challenge. I was determined to convert him and no amount of six year-old angst was going to sway me.
Eventually I discovered he didn’t dislike reading, he disliked the story lines of age-appropriate/reading-level appropriate books. Once I figured that out, getting him the right stories was a cinch.
How To Raise Readers
- Read to Them
Before your children ever learns how to read on their own, read to them. Begin when they’re drooling babies. Let your children teeth on a board book if you must, but introduce them to books as early as possible.
Funny Fact: When my son was an infant, I wanted to help increase his IQ, so I read to him from the dictionary. Ya, I was a bit over-the-top, but I was a new mom and he was my first. By the time my daughter came along, I traded the dictionary for anything with pretty pictures.
- Teach Them to Read
Don’t wait for your children to go to school before you begin teaching them the basics of reading. While you’re teaching your children to talk, begin teaching them the alphabet and the sounds each letter makes.
My kids had those Etch-A-Sketch type doodle pads and I’d draw letter after letter and teach the sounds associated with the letters. It became a game of sorts and my kids loved to play it.
A book to help you teach your preschool/school age children is The Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading. Best book ever! It makes teaching reading so easy. I even used it as a supplement when my kids were in grade school.
- Variety is The Spice of Life
Give your kids variety. When children are learning to read, it doesn’t really matter what they read as long as they are reading. Don’t get hung up wanting them to be literary geniuses. That will come later. For now, focus on fostering a love for the written word.
- Find Books Your Kids Love
I have a boy and a girl. Their taste in books could not be more different. I naïvely assumed all my son’s book would get passed down to my daughter and she would love them as much as he did, but that’s not the case.
My daughter fell out of love with reading until I found her genre.
My son enjoyed mysteries, fantasies, and problem solving books, but my daughter loves books with animals, especially talking animals. She also likes historical novels and factual books, like world record books.
It took some trial and error, but when I discovered her genre, she thrived.
Go to the library and borrow a wide variety of books. Pay attention to which stories captivate your children and which stories bore them. You’ll begin to discover their unique preferences.
- Read with Them
My kids loved when I would read with them. Sometimes it wasn’t even about reading the same book. Simply sitting together on the couch while we each read our separate books was enough.
Reading books aloud is also fun, especially when you read chapter books to your children before they are ready to read them on their own.
- Make Time to read
Make reading a priority. Make time and a comfortable space to read. Kids adore having their own reading nook, but the couch works.
Some schools incorporate DEAR – Drop Everything And Read. You can make that work at home too.
- Audio Books
If you have hesitant readers, get them hooked by listening to the first book of a series on CD. Once they get sucked into the story-line, it will be easy to put a book in their hand and say, “Go ahead. Find out what happens next.”
If you want your kids to be readers, you’re going to have to work at it. Start young and model good reading habits for them and before you know it, you’ll be telling your kids to drop the book and do something else for a while.
My kids are reading converts and I couldn’t be more pleased.
Reading is the basis for all education. It’s worth investing the time to ensure your children become readers.
Tomorrow we’ll talk about Part 2 - Encouraging Young Readers - Don’t miss it!
And if you have a TV Lover for a kid, check out Butt Roots, because Parenting Takes Creativity.
Do your kids enjoy reading?
How did you help them develop their love for books?
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We have done it. Doing it. Its working. Especially with my youngest. But cell phones and gaming is a killer ofbook reading.
Book stores and libraries were your favorite places to go when you were young! So glad.
Diane Bailey says
I loved this post! I have a reader in the house at 5 who just started reading in his own too. We read 30-40 minutes every night and your tips are key.