Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Reading Tip #2: How to Get Your Kids Excited about Reading.

So the next few posts will be a continuation of my 10 Tips for your Kid's Reading Enjoyment. Today's Reading Tip #2 will be how to get your kids excited about reading. First off, start reading to your child from when they're babies if you can. As they become toddlers and start communicating with you, make a big deal about bedtime stories. Show them how much you love books. They'll get that anticipation for reading from you!

As they get older (Kindergarten on...), make it a fun date to go to either the library or bookstore to pick up a book. It can be a half a day affair starting out with lunch and ending at the library/bookstore. Allow your child to pick a book or books depending on our budget. For toddlers and young children, read the book to them or with them as a special bedtime story. Over the next few days, talk to them about their favorite characters. You can also have them draw their favorite characters and frame them up or put it on your refrigerator. If there is a movie about that book or character, let them watch it after they have finished the book. My kids especially love this treat!

If you have a child who does not enjoy reading as much, here's a few things you can do to build their reading skills. As their reading skills improve, you will start noticing them enjoy reading more and more. The first thing I like to do is to create a reading schedule. Children who do not like reading will never pick a book up for fun. Set aside 20 mins each day at a set time for them to read the book they picked either at the library or bookstore. Slowly increase the time limit every two weeks by 5-10 mins, depending on your child. Eventually your child (1st grade and up) should be able to ready for about 45 mins to 1 hour everyday. Depending on your child, you may even allow them to start off by reading comics for the first month. After that, switch to books that include characters they love. (For example: the Star Wars series, Cars, American Girl collection, etc...) You don't have to introduce classics right away. (We'll talk about that in another reading tip post!) Remember, you are trying to get them to enjoy reading. I really do believe in consistency. Your child craves routine and doing such will get them into a habit of reading on a daily basis.

You may also create a sticker chart or give out coupons each time they finish reading a book. Reward them with simple treats like "make your own sundae" or a pick from your home-made treasure chest, and so on. I find an even simpler treat sometimes is the promise of another date to the library/bookstore. Kids love the attention you give them and you make "Pick-a-book" date ultra special, your child/children will look forward to the next date!

If your child has a close group of friends, have all the kids pick the same book or collection of books to read. When they are all done reading, have a fun book party with activities, toys/treats all about the book or characters they were reading about. You can even have a movie party if there's one relating to the book. Have a different parent host it each month.

If your child enjoys reading, please do not limit the time they spend on reading books. Keep encouraging them and introduce higher level books to them! If you have a special thing you do with your child to encourage them to read, do share it with us!

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