Teaching Kids to Read on Their Own—5 Tips to Make It Happen
by Mary Follin
Teaching kids to read on their own: 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 delivery service. The point is, let your child choose the titles.
5) The Dolly Parton Imagination Library. This free service sponsored by Dolly Parton is an exciting way to keep your child engaged in books. Sign up and your child will receive a free book in the mail every month!
6) Set an example. 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 a nearby coffee shop, 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're 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. Teaching kids to read on their own is a lot easier when you make it fun!
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