Wednesday, October 9, 2013

10 Tips to Help Your Child Become A Reader


    Lots of parents assume that if they are not readers or writers their children will not be either. I do believe you are doing your child a disservice if you assume your child will not enjoy reading. Reading is great on so many levels. It is great for babies, children, teens, adults and seniors. Sadly, many people do not get how powerful the written word is until they are in their retirement age and have more free time.
          However, reading can be relaxing and can help you to rejuvenate yourself and even gives you new ideas. It takes you to a new place and let's you learn new things. I was always taught if you want to be smart, READ! It does not matter what type of books you read just READ. It is a big important aspect in our house. I always make sure Xavier has plenty of different types of books around and accessible. I have been reading to him multiple times a day everyday since he was four months old. You may not be as fanatical as I am but a bedtime story is always a great thing to add to your routine. It lets you bound with your child and you can both relax after a long day. If your child is a reader you will notice how much better they do in school, on tests and even with their own self confidence.
   So if you and your family are not readers and could use a few tips here are some that we always have in place in our household. Remember knowledge is power. Power for your child to be able to be and do whatever they want to do, so grab a book (or nook, kindle or whatever you prefer to read on) and start reading!

10 Tips To Help Your Child Become A Reader

1) Have books accessible everywhere. There is no reason you need a library in your house. Put books where they are useful. For instance, put cookbooks in the kitchen, perhaps fiction in the living room, crafting books in your spare room/office/craft room (that's what we call our other bedroom). Have a favorite shelf in your room with your favorite books and your spouses'. Put a bookshelf up in your child's room and let them pick out a book. If you have little ones and are worried about them tearing the pages a good thing to do is get a basket and fill it full of cloth or board books that is available to your baby all the time. The page ones you can keep on a higher shelf in their room and perhaps use those at bedtime or when you can supervise.  

2) Don't limit books. Everything has ratings now a days and I am not saying you should give your five year old a copy of 50 Shades of Grey, but if you have older children do not limit them to only young adult books. Let them pick whatever they want from whatever section. I know growing up my parents never said what I could and could not read. I read some really odd books as my mom loved her romance novels and my dad loves his science fiction but it encouraged me and perhaps it was a useful way of rebelling as a teenager to read a book that may not have been completely appropriate for my age, but it is still reading and reading is learning.

3) Read Yourself As a parent you should know that kids do what you do not what you say. If you want your child to read the best thing to do is shut off the television and grab a book yourself. I will never forget one time I was watching my nephews and I had earlier in the day took them to the library to pick out books. By the time we got home they were not interested in any more books. However, I let them play and I started sitting on the couch reading. In a few minutes one went and got his library book and started reading too and then it was the second one who got his book and started looking at it as well. Children need good reading role models as a parent that is the best thing you can do for them.

4) Set Reading Times Have time in your house where everyone reads. A good suggestion is the "bewitching hour" as most parents call it the hour of rushing home from work and school eating dinner and waiting until bedtime. These are great times to read individually or as a family. Read before you go to bed or even on the weekends. Make it part of your routine and you will see a huge difference.

5) Encourage Looking Things Up In Books, Even Picture Books This is especially helpful for little ones. I realize with the invention of the internet who bothers looking up anything in a book anymore, but for little ones this is invaluable. There are many times Xavier will see something and later bring me a book and point to it in the book, wanting to know what it is. It is easier for little ones to point to things in books and ask questions then on the computer. Plus, if you cannot travel to distant lands to see things books and picture books are great to flip through by yourself or as a family.

6) Let Children Look At Adult Books This means when your three year old picks up your book of a murder mystery or romance novel, let her flip through it and see there are no pictures. Read some to her, tell her about it. Granted she will most likely be bored after a few sentences but let them know that harder books are not off limits if they have the desire to read them.

7) Go To The Library I have no idea why more people do not take advantage of their libraries. There are libraries in every community and in most schools. Take your child to the library. They have a children's section, a young adult section and adult sections. Libraries are limitless. It is a great way to let your child see other books and you can find out what they are really interested in. Also, libraries offer a lot of children activities such as a children story hour. Bonus, libraries also have computers, free internet, and you can take out movies as well and it is all free! Also, note if you have an electronic device many libraries can lend books straight to your electronic device as well.

8) Encourage Your Child To Make Their Own Book With Pictures If your child is old enough a great craft idea is for them to make their own book. Encourage them to come up with a story and help them write it out. Let them do the illustrations and staple it together so it is a nice book. You can also make your own personalized books on many online retailers as well if you would like a professional book. You can check out one of our sponsors TwigTale Books, the one I made for Xavier is now one of his favorite books! (You can read my review of TwigTale Books by clicking here).

9) Have Your Child Read To You Even If They Can't Read Tired of reading to your kids? Let them read to you. Even if your child cannot read they are capable of looking at the pictures and probably remember what the story is about and you may get a lot of laughs of what they come up with. I do this with Xavier and he does not even speak yet. I tell him to read to mommy and he will point to things and turn pages and babble in his little voice. I even caught him reading to his stuffed Mickey Mouse one day. It is a great way to teach your child to read to others.

10) Perform Stories, Plays and Puppets If you are reading the end of this and are on book over load here is something that encourages reading but in a different way. Theater! What child does not want to perform a fun play or puppet show for you? You can have them act out a story in their favorite book or have them write their own play and star in it. It is a great way to teach them some of the benefits of stories and reading.

So grab a book and get reading!

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