It is so important to create an environment that promotes the love of reading. Not only is reading necessary for survival in today's world, it is educational, it sparks imagination, it is a stress reliever, provides entertainment and enjoyment, the list goes on.
Here are some ideas to help you help your child love reading.
- The most important thing a parent can do to teach a child to love reading is for the parent to let the children see how much you love reading. You need to set the example.
- Set aside a time each day when everyone in the family reads. Perhaps it is for half an hour after school or before bed every day. Be consistent.
- Read to your children. Even after they are old enough to read themselves, it is still a treat to have a parent read to them.
- Never punish your child by taking away books.
- Share books you loved growing up.
- Create a tradition of reading one chapter from a book each night before bed. I remember a teacher in the fifth grade would read a chapter each day from "Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh" by Zena Bernstein (Illustrator) and Robert C. O'Brien (Author). I looked forward to class every day so I could find out what happened next!
- Start a family book club. Everyone reads the same book and pick a night to discuss it. I suggest checking out copies from the library, I wouldn't want to buy several copies of the same book. Or you can take turns reading from the same book.
- Every child should have a reading nook in his or her bedroom. A simple beanbag chair or other cozy chair, a small table with a reading lamp and a small bookcase are all that is needed. If space is especially limited, just a comfy chair and reading lamp will suffice.
- Creating a calming, relaxing space in your child's room is also important. There should be no television or video games in the bedroom. The room should also be neat and not have a lot of stuff. Studies show simplicity and neatness are calming where a lot of stuff or messiness can clutter the mind.
- If your children are small, perhaps the reading nook should be either in a common room or the parent and child should each have a chair in the child's room.
- Let your child choose his or her own books. Don't limit the reading material (within reason) they choose. If s/he wants to read educational books, comic books or music magazines, let him/her. The goal is to let your child love reading.
- If all your child wants to read is magazines or other reading material you consider not great, then perhaps you can find something your child is very interested in and find books on that subject. If your son is only interested in reading music magazines, perhaps you can buy books such as a biography on one of his favorite musicians, books on musical history, books that teach how to play music, etc.
I hope you find some useful ideas. Remember, the family that reads together, stays together. Have fun!
Tracy Catarius is the owner of Greatest Kid's books, a site devoted to children's education and Mattcmama's, a resource site for parents. You can visit these sites here: http://www.greatestkidsbooks.com and http://www.mattcmamas.com . She lives in Massachusetts with her husband and is the mother of one son and one daughter. She also has a personal family library of approximately 1,000 books on various subjects.
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