by Brigitte Brulz, The Old Schoolhouse
There are so many benefits to reading. When children become readers, a whole new world is open to them. They can go on adventures to faraway places without leaving the house. They can read signs, recipes, books, magazines, and even school assignments. As a result, their learning opportunities, knowledge, writing skills, and vocabulary expand.
Of course, parents see the benefits of reading. But children may be a little more resistant to the idea. So, what can a parent do to encourage reading? Below are some tips for raising a reader.
Even babies can enjoy reading time! Snuggle with little ones and explore books together. Point out words and pictures. Bond over books with textures, sounds, and pop-ups. Show them that books are fun.
Continue as They Get Older
Let the fun continue as children become readers. Take turns reading. Read magazines, picture books, chapter books, devotionals, and more together. Listen to audiobooks in the car or while doing chores. Encourage discussions. Possibly, start your own family book club.
Watch a Movie Based on a Book
There are quite a few books that have been turned into movies. Some examples include Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo, Wonder by R.J. Palacio, and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett.
Enjoy reading the book together, and then have a family movie night. Or watch the movie, and then read the book. Discuss them together. How were they similar? How were they different? Which do you prefer?
Have Books Available
Most homeschooling families don’t have a book shortage. However, making those books accessible is essential. Store appropriate books in easy-to-reach locations. Leave board books in cribs for little ones. Let children keep books in their rooms to read before bed. Use a basket in a central location for library books. Consider what areas work best for you and your family.
Search for Interesting Reading Material
Children are filled with curiosity. Think about what interests them the most. Then find appropriate books or magazines on that topic and let them read. There are so many genres and styles of books available. Reluctant readers may be more receptive to reading shorter books or magazine articles than longer books. Choose from fiction, nonfiction, graphic novels, biographies, and more. If your children are interested in the topic of their reading material, they are more likely to enjoy reading it.
Visit the Library
The library is a fantastic resource to check out different genres without spending a fortune. Let your children go on a book scavenger hunt. Explore the different genres. Check out other styles of books. Get to know the library sections.
Participate in a Reading Program
Reading programs often encourage reading through prizes and activities. Many libraries provide book clubs throughout the year and summer reading programs during the summer. Some companies also offer reading programs. For example, Pizza Hut® has a BOOK IT! program. Barnes & Noble and Half Price Books also often have summer reading programs. Do some research and find out which reading programs are available in your area. Then join.
If you can’t find a reading program in your area, create your own. Set reading goals and track the reading time. Reading logs, bookmarks, reading trackers, and more can be found online for free tracking. Children can even record books they’ve read in their own reading journals.
Children learn a lot from what they see. So, let your children see you reading. Short on time? Make it a family activity! Schedule a family reading time when everyone can read or look at books independently for a set time limit.
There are a lot of games that foster reading and writing skills. Plan a family game night and try one. Some games include Apples to Apples Junior, Last Word, Upwords, Scrabble, Bananagrams, Scattergories, and Boggle.
Do a Book-Related Activity
Try an activity or unit study to go along with the books you read. For example, can you research a location, try a new recipe, do a craft, or create another project based on a book? This is a great way to reinforce learning and reading!
Check out SchoolhouseTeachers.com
SchoolhouseTeachers.com offers Monthly Book Lists for Families (schoolhouseteachers.com/school-subjects/language-arts/reading-list-monthly book-lists-for-families/), Adventures with Books (schoolhouseteachers.com/school subjects/language-arts/adventures-with-books/), and more. Use these resources for even more ideas.
May you be encouraged by the fact that spending time with your children and fostering their love of reading will not be wasted time. Thank you for reading!
Brigitte Brulz is a homeschooling mom, journal creator, author, and freelance writer and editor. Some of her journals include reading journals, a writing prompt journal, a field trip journal, and a high school years journal. She offers free reading logs, bookmarks, coloring pages, and more information on her website at www.brigittebrulz.com.
Copyright 2022, The Old Schoolhouse®. Used with permission. All rights reserved by the Author. Originally appeared in the Fall 2022 digital issue of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, the trade publication for homeschool moms. Read The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine free at www.TOSMagazine.com, or download the free reader apps at www.TOSApps.com for mobile devices. Read the STORY of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine and how it came to be.