This is a big reading week here. On Tuesday, we had Multicultural Children’s Book Day. On Monday, Guppy’s school started Parents as Reading Partners, or PARP. Reading is important; it’s a basic life skill. Without the ability to read, you struggle with most basic tasks. Without the ability to read, many careers are blocked off. But it’s more than just teaching kids to read. Loving reading is important as well. I love books, and I want my children to as well.
So how do we do that? How can I get my kids to love reading like I do? I’ve thought about it, and I’ve read about it. Here are some suggestions that I’ve come up with. Please add your own in the comments.
- Talk with your c
hildren about books. Not just the books that they are reading, but about the ones you are reading as well. Ask questions about their books, finding out what they did and did not like about each one. Learn what their preferences are (this becomes more important in a minute). But also encourage them to do the same for you. Show your children how much you love to read, by showing them the enthusiasm you have when you talk about reading.
- Give books as presents. This is a two-fold suggestion. The first is knowing what books your children like (remember above?) and getting other books by the same authors, or getting books that are similar in theme, style, and genre. Be excited when they open presents that include books. Let them see that excitement. The second part is to make books meaningful. I like to give books as significant presents, but instead of just giving a book, I write an inscription in the book first. It makes the book something to cherish. It makes it something more than just words on a page.
- Read with your children. Set aside 15 minutes a day, or more, as family reading time. With younger children, this could mean reading aloud. With older ones, it might mean that everyone sits in the family room and reads together. But it means sharing books together.
- Shut down the screens. What is the biggest competition for books? Everything else. TV, video games, IPads (especially IPads). Kids spend a lot more time staring at screens than we could ever have imagined. So make them stop. Tell them to get off of the screen. Even better, do the same. Put the phone down. Get off of the IPad. That email, or facebook status update can wait. Turn off the TV. Replace that time with books.