Growing up as a kid I remember always enjoying reading. In my spare time I would rather read than watch TV or play games. I would be babysitting when we had a snow day and I would read all day long (my brother was 11 at the time so he could entertain himself). Seriously though, who does that when you have a day off from school. I think the reason for this is because my parents encouraged me to read from an early age.
Reading is so important in everyday life. I honestly do not think I go a single day without reading something, a recipe, road signs, bills, and much more. This begs the question how do we encourage kids to read, and how can we get them to enjoy reading? The answer to this is actually very simple.
Start reading to your kids early. It is never too early to start reading to your kids. I started reading to my daughter before she was even born. Whatever I was reading I would read out loud so she could hear my voice, and she reacted, every time!
Honestly, once she was born though, I didn’t start reading to her until she was 2 months old, I was just too tired. That is fine and completely understandable, but once you feel up to it, start reading to your baby. You can read whenever you want, if it is easier to make it a part of the bedtime routine, that’s fine. If you would rather read in the morning, that’s fine too, just read.
Read age appropriate books. Infants and toddlers love books with repetitive sounds, such as rhymes. Dr. Suess books are great for this! As kids get older, they like more complex books and words, so stop reading the “baby” books. Make sure you are reading what they want you to read. As they get older, let them pick out books at the library, from their bookshelf or the store. I let my daughter pick a book, and she is one, and doesn’t even know what she is picking out, but it gives her a sense of accomplishment.
Let them read. It may be frustrating, but let them read themselves. As they get older they will want to read the book and not have you read it. It’s ok, and help him or her when they get stuck. If it is slow, that’s ok, if you discourage them now, they will feel ashamed every time they try to read.
My daughter “reads” all the time. At one year old, she mimics reading books all the time. She will grab a book, sit on the floor, start flipping through the pages, and even babbles like she is reading. It is really amazing to think that she understands the concept, even if she can’t read or talk yet.
Don’t limit reading time. Parents are worried about how much exercise their children are getting that we want to limit everything that isn’t physical exercise. You can limit computer time and game time, but don’t discourage reading or limit reading time. I honestly do not think that a child can read too much.
Keep it fun and not a burden. If you act like reading to your child is a chore, then your child will pick up on that. Make reading fun. Make sure you set aside however long you decide every day for reading, 10, 15, or 20 minutes. It does not matter how long, just so that you set the time aside every day. Laundry and dishes can wait, your child’s future and education cannot.
Do you read to your kids every day? How do you encourage your kids to read? Do you have any additional tips to encourage kids to read?