Four suggestions to encourage reading in your home:
- Limit television time or forego it altogether (consider a once-a-week movie night). Free reign of the television for children is absolutely going to kill the desire to read (and play too!).
- Read to your children every day, the earlier in their life, the better. We started as soon as they could sit up. How will your children know what excitement and knowledge is to be found in books unless you introduce them to it? An excellent way to keep your toddler children interested in spending time independently with books is to introduce them to a series. Once they are "friends" with some of the characters they will want to keep on revisiting them. You will be surprised at how much time the little ones will spend with a stack of books by themselves. Our favorites for the younger years are the Berenstain Bears.
- For older children that you are trying to encourage, zero in on their interests and research books within that. Starting them on a series is the best approach if they are already hesitant readers. You may want to spend time reading a chapter each day to introduce the first book in the series with them. Once you have caught their interest, supply them with the next book and watch how the desire to read takes off! The first chapter book series that won the hearts in this home was the Boxcar Children. (These are wholesome mysteries for young children in which the brothers and sisters work together lovingly. I would suggest these for 6 - 10 years of age depending on your specific child.)
- Audio books are a wonderful way to encourage lazy readers. Similar to the concept above, the key is to get them interested and to realize how fun books can be. Turn them on during silent activities such as coloring, drawing or building with blocks. Once they are engaged, then the rest of the titles in that series or by the same author will be of interest to them and they will want to read them independently.
You won't believe the results if you encourage book reading. How many things our children learn from books that didn't require my teaching! I am constantly asking, where did you learn that???
I had a Mother who read me the things
That wholesome life to the boy heart brings--
Stories that stir with an upward touch,
Oh, that each mother of boys were such!
You may have tangible wealth untold;
Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.
Richer than I you can never be--
I had a Mother who read to me.
~ Excerpt from The Reading Mother by Strickland Gillilan
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