Reading is the cornerstone of every young child’s education, so one of the crucial ways to foster a love for learning is first to encourage your children to love reading. While some children come out loving the written word, others need extra encouragement to develop this passion. Below are ten easy ways to help your children become strong and happy readers.
- Read every day from a young age.
Before they can read to themselves, it’s important for children to be read to by their parents. Not only does this open up the idea that reading is an important part of your family structure, studies have also shown that being read to regularly as a child significantly increases his or her vocabulary.
- Let them pick their own books.
When they are old enough to do so, let them pick their own books. Think about the difference in excitement you had between reading the book assigned by your middle school English teacher, versus the book you picked out on your own. This feeling starts young, and children love to be able to have control over what they are allowed to do.
- Take regular trips to the library.
The public library has children’s sections that are not only filled with great books for all ages, they often have other educational games and programs such as Story Time. Forsyth County libraries have a calendar of events, as well as an amazing selection of children’s books in all of their library branches.
- Have them read to a stuffed animal.
Kids grow up with their stuffed animals as friends and playmates, so encouraging them to read to their animals not only builds their desire to read, but it also encourages them to grow their imaginations.
- Surround them with books.
If your house is filled with books, you are much more likely to want to read the books than if they weren’t there. Fill a bookcase (or ten) with books of varying kinds and make sure your children always know they are available.
- Find a read-along DVD.
Sometimes technology can be a good way to encourage children to transition to the written word. Read along DVDs are a great way to get kids active in reading when they are not old enough to be able to read themselves, but want to be involved.
- Have a family Read-a-thon.
Leading by example is one of the most effective ways to teach anything to children. If they see you reading, they will want to read as well. When they are old enough to read on their own, a great way to encourage them to continue to want to read on a regular basis as they grow is to have a nightly Read-a-thon, where everybody sits together and reads for 20-30 minutes.
- Use sound effects.
Who doesn’t love sound effects and funny voices? If you make books fun, children will keep wanting to come back for more. Get as silly as you can and your children will be begging you to read for them.
- Pull from pop culture.
Within the fun thread, children want to read about what they know—and they know pop culture. Find books about the things they love like Minecraft, Barbie, and Pokémon, and they won’t want to stop reading!
- Read a series together.
Cliffhangers are a fantastic way to keep children wanting to keep reading, so if you can find a series that keeps them wanting more, grab onto it! Series such as the Magic Tree House series and Nancy Drewhave been inspiring children to continue reading for decades.