Saturday, October 19, 2013

How to Encourage Reading

While we were out of town for my oldest child’s first birthday, burglars came into our house and helped themselves to our TV, stereo, microwave, jewelry, and my new tennis shoes!  While not an experience I would want to re-live, I think it contributed to my children becoming avid readers.

We became a TV-free family. 

We were already being ‘weaned’ from television, since our tv only picked up one channel - The Home Shopping Channel.  The burglary just sealed the deal and we chose not to replace it.

If you have read much of my blog, you already know that I read to my children a lot and encouraged them to read, also.  We read before naptime and before bedtime every day for at least 30 minutes each time.  Every child was allowed to choose one or two books for read aloud time, which added up to quite a few books!

Reading to your children and having them read every day contributes to their academic success.  This article comments on that:

What can you do to encourage a love of reading?

1.  Read early and often to your children.

We started reading to our children before they were one year old.  Read to them every day.

Take them to the library and let them help you choose books.

2.  Turn off the TV, or consider getting rid of it.

After the burglary, we didn’t own a TV for 11 years.  At that point we had a very small one with a built in video player that we used to occasionally watch videos.  We currently have a TV with built in DVD player and we use it for movie night.  We don’t have cable and don’t receive any network channels.

3.  Limit computer time.

Admittedly, this is easier when children are younger.  If you find your children on the computer every time you turn around, consider putting parental controls with time limits on it.  Another option is for children to earn computer time based on their reading time.  It could be minute for minute or twice as much reading time for earned computer time. 

I know that this is the ‘monster’ that keeps getting out of control.  About the time I think it is conquered, it rears its ugly head again.  Remember, you are the parent.

4.  Limit other electronics

Many children have their own smartphones or use their parent’s smartphone extensively.  I see smartphones being used to entertain the baby or the toddler.  We are a society addicted to our electronics and our children are picking up that habit. Electronic devices steal productive time from you and your children.

When you know you are going to be out and your child will have to wait, take along a book to read to your child (or for the child to read) or play a game like “I Spy”, instead of having the child play games or watch movies on your phone or ipad.

5.  Find books on subjects that interest your child

If your child loves horses, get fiction and non-fiction books from the library about horses.  If your child is fascinated by robots, find books on that subject.  Delight-directed reading will often encourage a reluctant reader. 

6.  Create a reading time in your daily schedule.

It is easy to be so busy that your child never has time to just sit and read.  Block out time to read to your children or for them to read.  Set a timer, if needed, and require your child to read for a set amount of time each day.

Your child will benefit from whatever you can do to encourage them to love reading.  However, that does not guarantee they will love reading.  In regards to reading, I raised all my children the same way, but one of my children does not read for pleasure, just for information.  So, do all you can to promote reading, but don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t turn out like you planned.

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