Reading is an essential skill and the ability to read well is one of the most important things you can teach your kids.
Reading well helps them do better in school. It will help them do better on tests because they can read the questions faster and have more time to answer them, in addition to understanding the questions better. It will help them to learn just about anything. Reading well helped me understand my math book better which helped me to learn math faster. And it makes life more enjoyable because, let’s face it, reading is a lot of fun.
Because reading is so important, it is a huge focus at our house and I thought I’d share some tips for how I get my kids to read more.
10 Tips to Inspire Reading
1. Early Proficiency
Reading is one of the first school-type skills I work on with my kids. I know that once they are accomplished readers, they can pretty much teach themselves so I make reading a big priority in the beginning. We do ABC and sight word flash cards, get the early-reader books from the library, point out words in everyday life, and I read to them a ton. But I also try to make all of those things fun so that they associate reading with excitement. Plus, once your kids feel that they are good at something, they generally like to do that thing more.
2. Utilize The Library
The library is a magical place to kids and my kids go there a lot. We go there and get all kinds of books that my kids WANT to read, which makes them a lot more likely to read. We also make a big deal out of getting a library card. My kids have to earn their own library card by becoming a proficient reader. And once they do, they get their very own library card and we make a big deal out of it. If you want your kids to read more, you have to go to the library more. We go at least once a week.
3. Family Story Time
Getting together and reading as a family is a great way to make reading fun. It’s also a good way to introduce books that may be a little harder for young kids to read. Reading a chapter or two of a book at night as a family can be a lot of fun. (I recommend using different voices for the characters. It can feel a little silly but your kids will love it.)
4. Listening to Books
Make use of your car time by listening to books. Sometimes these books are so fun that your kids beg to listen to them at home too. Just yesterday my kids spent over an hour deep cleaning their rooms while listening to an audiobook and they loved it. You can get free audiobooks from librivox.org or your library. Or you can pay for audiobooks from places like Audible.
Read-a-thons aren’t just for school. You can hold these fun events at home too. You can throw out a blanket, a pile of books, and snuggle together in your jammies for an hour or two of reading. Or you can go to a park and read under the trees. You can have themed read-a-thons where you all read a science-type book or an adventure book or comic books or whatever. You can even have mini read-a-thons where you all read together for 30 minutes or less. Be flexible and make it fun.
6. Bedtime Stories
Bedtime stories are a must and they are a great way to be consistently reading to your kids. These don’t need to take a lot of time. I have a book of five-minute stories that are great for this. It’s most important to, as Nike says, Just Do It.
7. Visiting Bookstores
Bookstores are a great way to make books seem important and exciting for kids. There are so many books all in one place and they are displayed as enticing as possible. Some bookstores have special kid areas that are decorated and fun. Or there are old bookstores that make books seem ancient and a little mystical. It can be a lot of fun to visit different bookstores and even more fun for your kiddos to let them pick out a special book to bring home.
8. Put Bookworms on a Pedestal
Let your kids know early and often that people who read are awesome! That is all.
9. Side-by-Side Reading
A fun way to get reluctant readers to start reading more is to read with them. A great way to do this is to have your child read a page and then you read the next page. This allows you to model great reading and it gives your child a little break to simply enjoy the story before they put their brain back to work to read the next page.
10. Make Time for Reading
In our busy world sometimes our kids’ schedules can get bogged down with too many “good” things. Your children will never spend more time reading if they don’t have the time to read. Try to simplify your schedules and put back in time for reading and play. And make sure you give yourself time to read too. Kids are much more likely to want to read if they see their parents enjoying reading.
A love of reading is an amazing gift that you can give your children, better than any shiny toy on Amazon. It will require some effort on your part but it is so worth it.
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