Friday, July 27, 2012

Encouraging Our Children To Read

When it comes to encouraging our children to read it is sometimes like pulling teeth.  In the world of video games, iPhones, and overactive lifestyles how do we encourage our children to site down and read?  For many of us  there is no choice because schools have stepped up and have added AR reading to the curriculum.  Now it is our task at home to get our children to complete those AR assignments. But I challenge us to go farther and add reading for the fun of it to our plates.

Over the school year I have had parents ask me how I get my boys to read.  I start by saying that I am a blessed parent.  Being a teacher and an avid reading fan, my boys have been around books since birth.  I started reading to them while in they were in the crib and haven't stopped.  We now make it an event in the evening, where a couple times a week, they join me to read.  I will admit that as my boys get older reading for the fun of it is harder.  I'm taking on the task and have some tips that I hope will help.

1. If you have young ones, START NOW!  Nothing encourages reading later in life more than starting it as a young child. 

2.  Start by reading everything!  Let the children read the cereal box to you, or have them read the grocery list off to you at the store.  Have them read the rules to a game you are about to play.  I find my boys love it when they get to be in charge for a change.  It also encourages reading out loud without pressure. This will help when it comes time to read aloud in the classroom.

3.  Take them to the library!  I introduced my boys to the library young.  With children's reading times and summer reading contests the library is a great source to encourage reading.  My boys love to peruse around the shelves looking for that "new read".  This will also give them the opportunity to try out different genres with no charge.  Finding the right genre can make all the difference!!

4. Mix it up! For every AR book that my boys have to read we add in a fun read.  This can be a comic book, a magazine, a picture book, or anything that sparks their interest.  They feel they are winning "time off" from serious reading, but are still READING!!

5.  It's ok to dislike the book!  When it comes to reading assignments I make sure I let my boys know that it is ok to not like the book.  Right now my boys are both reading books they despise.  In giving them permission to not like the book, it appears they feel ok with finishing it.  I told them they would have the opportunity to tell why they didn't like it in their papers.  But I made it clear that they had to be specific on what was to "not like" in the book.

6.  If you have the opportunity, Buy used books!  I say this, and please don't cringe, but  let them write in them.  My son had an assignment this summer where he was to draw pictures of the characters, highlight unknown words and write the definitions, and summarize chapters all inside the pages of the book.  He didn't really like the book, but loved the assignment.  He said it made it so much easier when it came time to answer questions at the end.  Remember, later in life, being able to properly highlight text will become necessary, so why not get an early jump.

7. Say YES to eReaders!  In the era of technology, we can not escape eReading apps. I actually encourage them.  I read over 95% of my books on my Kindle or my iPad, so I can't exactly say to my boys that they can't.  I do encourage my boys to read all school assignments in the paperback form.  Most schools don't allow eReaders in the building anyway (I'm sure this will change in the near future).  But for fun reading it makes a nice change to get to use the eReader.  It allows them to enlarge the print, highlight funny parts, and define words instantly that they do not know.  I find this is extremely helpful for those children with reading disorder, like my son.  Yes, my son has a reading disorder and still loves to can happen.

I hope this helps get us all through this upcoming school year!  If you have any tips that have worked in your home please leave them below. Every little tip helps!!

Happy Reading!

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