If you grew up on a steady diet of good children’s literature, you know what your child is missing if he or she doesn’t spend much time reading. But getting kids to read isn’t easy. Today’s culture doesn’t set aside down time for doing ‘nothing’ the way we used to.
As kids, we turned to books on hot summer days when there was nothing to do. Or on rainy days, when it was too cold and wet to go outside. And who doesn’t remember those temperate, not-a-cloud-in-the-sky Saturdays when mom or dad told you to put that book down and go out and get some sunshine?
If this was part of your childhood, you most likely want that for your child, too. Try these 5 tips for getting kids to read.
Getting kids to read: 5 tips
1) Books by mail. Kids love to get mail. Join an online book swap, so your child can choose his or her own book and order it from another reader. You will be pleasantly surprised to see your child checking the mailbox for the latest book, then reading it as soon as it comes in. The only cost you incur is postage to send your contribution to another little reader.
2) Front yard libraries. Start a Little Free Library—you can buy one or make your own. These free-standing libraries hold about 20 books, and you can set them up in your front yard or on community property. You may want to restrict this “Take a Book, Leave a Book” concept to children’s books only, or you can extend the service to everyone. Your child will love checking it every day to see which books were taken and which ones were dropped off. As an added benefit, neighbors with children will stop in front of it, giving your child a chance to meet new friends.
3) Book clubs. Start a book club for a small group of your child’s friends. Your child will look forward to reading the book, and the ensuing discussion will help him or her come to understand books in a new way.
4) Book shopping. This one may sound simplistic, but it works. Let your child buy a book every now and then. Ownership creates responsibility. If your child spends his or her time at a bookstore choosing the perfect book, the likelihood of that book getting read goes up. If there are no bookstores near you, try a book-of-the-month club. The point is, let your child choose the titles.
5) Role models. If you have your nose in a book, chances are, your child will, too. Rather than reading at night before you go to bed, read during the day so that your child can see that reading is a ‘big people’ thing to do. Better yet, each of you grab a book, go to Starbucks and order a latte for you and a smoothie for your child. Curl up in those big, comfy chairs and read away. As an added bonus, sometimes bookstores are connected to coffee shops. You can make a day of it!
If you are tired of nagging your kids to read, try some of these tips. Make it a family affair, and you will foster that love of reading that you so badly want for your children. Getting kids to read is a lot easier when you make it fun!
Leave a comment. What do you do to get your kids reading?
SPEAKING OF KIDS: Musings, stories, and tips about teaching, reading, and parenting.
ABOUT MARY FOLLIN
Mary is the author of TEACH YOUR CHILD TO READ and ETHYR, winner of the Moonbeam Children's Book Award and the Gertrude Warner Book Award. She is mom to two grown sons and enjoys sharing her more seasoned perspective with parents of younger children.
ABOUT KRISTI CROSSON
Kristi Crosson is a freelance writer, homeschooling mom of three children, and author of Healthy Mom Revolution, a blog that offers insights on healthy parenting.
Suzanne Johnson, mother of five children and grandmother of six, is an illustrator, book cover designer, and author of the Realms of Edenocht series.
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Gertrude Warner Book Award
Moonbeam Children's Book Award
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