Does reading come easily to you? Does the ideal afternoon include cuddling up with a fantastic read? Where did you gain your love of reading?
Now that I have a first grader who is reading, I want to give him the encouragement he needs to develop a love for the written word. The other day I heard him utter the words, "I hate reading." My eyes grew into saucers, and breathing deeply I explained that reading can be enjoyable. It's something you will have to do for the rest of your life. He might as well learn to read and learn to love it.
I began to rack my brain for ways to encourage him to develop a love for books. Then, I remembered that my love of reading didn't happen over night. My mother played a huge roll in sculpting my point of view regarding literature.
Consider these four ideas for encouraging your child to read.
1. Subjects and genres your child is interested in.
As children we were encouraged to read about different subjects. Once we found a genre that we loved, we couldn't get enough. Give your child the liberty to read mysteries or picture books that are only about trucks. The important thing is that they have a book in their hands and they are falling in love with words.
2. Make reading an event.
When my sister and I were little, we would go to the library quite often. I can still remember the smell of printed pages that filled the shelves. It was a treasure room waiting to be opened. Mom would let us check out whatever books we wanted to take home. We would spend hours perusing through the books. There were many times we had to put books back because we couldn't check them all out.
Get a library card for each of your children. They can use their cards for checking out books. It may seem small to you, but using their own card is a big deal.
Make going to the library or bookstore a habit. Every two weeks or once a month take a trip to your local library so your children become accustom reading new books. Reading then becomes a part of their every day lives.
3. Read to your child.
One of my fondest memories of Mom was when she would read to us. My sister and I would lay on the bed and Mom would read Little House on the Prairie. One chapter a day until we finished the books. We were both old enough to read on our own, but that time with Mom was important. She was taking time out of her day to give us attention.
I remember asking her one day why she liked reading to us. Her answer has stuck with me all these years. Mom was one of seven children. She told me that she never remembered her mother reading to her. She hated that her mother was so busy with household duties that she could never take the time to sit down with her and read one book. Mom didn't want that to happen to her daughters.
If you would like to read more on the importance of reading to your child, check out this article.
4. Give a book.
Every year we give each child a book for Christmas. It's one of their four gifts. Since we started this tradition at such an early age, they look forward to it. They write down a few different books on their Christmas wish list. It's a gift they use throughout the year, and our little home library is always open.
Give a book at Christmas, birthdays, or to celebrate the beginning of summer. There are plenty of opportunities to give a book.
What are some ways you encourage reading in your home? We also offer points for reading in the summer. Check out our point system here.