From the moment you find out you are expecting, the importance of reading to and with your child is shoved in your face long before you even know the gender. The benefits of having a family reading plan are well-documented, but it’s hard to know the best way to start.
Twin Cities Kids Club is here to tell you to fear not. You don’t have to be overwhelmed (or underwhelmed) with ideas to begin or continue a love for reading. Join the club now for great discounts, ideas for kid-friendly activities in the area, and current topics regarding family life today.
Age of Electronics
It’s no secret that electronics have started to play a significant role in many day-to-day activities. Long gone are the days of digging through encyclopedias for research, and it is not often that kids (gasp. Dare I say it?) read for fun. It’s hard to get limit the screen time when so many options are readily available.
The idea of sitting down with good reading material appears less and less on lists of fun activities. Our society offers many alternatives to reading, some of which may not be as beneficial or require very little brainpower to do so. Why turn to a book when you can turn on the TV?
For me growing up, reading was an escape. I dove into a book and into a world of wonder that made the impossible seem very tangent and real. What has happened since then? As parents, how do you sway your children into the idea that reading is beneficial and can be just as fun as video games or catching up on phone time?
One of the best ways that I have found to get your kids into reading is to read yourself. It’s not often that voicing your opinion regarding books is enough to inspire them to get a few more pages in.
Encourage your kids to pick out a book that you have and read it with them, allowing them to turn the pages or read aloud, even if just a word or two here and there. Making reading a bonding activity not only encourages reading but allows for it to be another bonding experience between parents and kids.
Make Books Accessible
Some of the top reasons why people don’t read include not knowing what to read or not having the time to read. While both of these can be valid reasons, often it comes down to whether or not books are easily accessible.
We live in a society immersed in instant gratification. What are you more likely to do when you have a spare ten minutes? Click a button on a remote to catch up on last night’s recorded TV or dig through the extra closet to possibly find an enjoyable book to read?
If books are easily accessible, it makes it easier to actually read them. Set up an area in your home that allows for books to be pulled out at any given moment of the day. Put kid-friendly books in the area too and encourage them to pull the books out and explore their options.
Ensuring kids have access to reading material will make them much more likely to seek reading out as an option for filling their time.
Start with You
If reading has become a subsidiary task only visited upon occasion, I encourage you to put aside intentional time specifically for reading a book. Find an old-time favorite and dive right in. Kids often respond best to what they see exemplified.
Take the time to read books that are specifically for your enjoyment and then find the time to read books, especially for and with your kids. If you want to raise a child with love for reading, show that reading stories is a lovable hobby.
Set up a reading station complete with a comfortable blanket by the cozy corner we recommended, and you are bound to look forward to those spare moments all the more throughout the day.
Expand Reading Horizons
Reading doesn’t necessarily have to coincide with books. A great way to start developing a love for reading begins with shorter and smaller excerpts, such as recipes. When cooking dinner, offer to read a recipe alongside a family member or have them read it for you.
Another great way to get the whole family excited about a good book is by letting them choose the reading material. A library is a great way to explore new options and get new recommendations on books they may not choose otherwise.
Allow your child to explore age-appropriate options and respect their decisions. What may seem too simple for you or boring may be the book that sparks their love for reading. Any adverse reactions to their choices may make them think twice about whether or not to participate.
One of my favorite options for developing a love for reading is to set reading goals. Within a specific period, challenge each other to read a particular amount of books. Make each book worth points and offer bonus points for writing summaries or reporting on what is happening as you are reading.
At the end of the challenge, whoever has the most points wins. You can get creative with rewards or offering bonus points throughout the time given. Everyone loves a game. Combining reading with games makes for a sure way to make reading all the more enjoyable for all.
Ready, Set, Read
Don’t be afraid to designate reading time as a family and discuss what you all are reading. The more you get involved as a parent, the more they will see value in the time as a child. Reading together is bound to create bonds to last a lifetime.
If you are curious about when kids should start reading and how they should be progressing, check out our advice here. Scholastic (yes the book fair company) has some fantastic help for getting your family to read together, as well.
Join Twin Cities Kids Club for more great ideas and activities to do as a family as well as discounts and up to date information on local events.