Some kids are instant bookworms -- begging for you to read story after story to them before they can decipher the words themselves. But other kids would rather kick around a ball with friends or play a game, rarely choosing reading to pass the time. Getting some kids excited about reading -- especially reading on their own -- can be a challenge, but we think it's a must to show children that reading now, and throughout their lifetimes, is important. So we've compiled seven ways to get your kids excited about reading, incorporating books into their everyday life, so they'll be more inclined to pick up a great book instead of the TV remote or video game controller.
1. Start them Young
The earlier you start reading to your child, the better. When I was pregnant with my son, I immediately started reading everything aloud. I wasn’t sure if he would be able to hear my voice, however, I thought it would be a good way for me to make reading aloud a habit. From the day that he was born, I have made it a habit to read aloud with him on a daily basis. It has always been a time of the day that we enjoy together, and it has only increased his love of reading. Start a collection of read-aloud books when your child is a baby, and stock up on board books for your toddler to peruse.
2. Read as a Family
One of the nicest ways for a family to bond at the end of busy day is by coming together to enjoy a great book. This is a fun way for younger children to hear books that they wouldn’t have been able to read on their own. It’s also a great way to discuss story lines, characters and plot predictions as a family, encouraging young readers to absorb what was read. When choosing books to read as a family, consider books with a theme that the entire family can relate to, about subjects that everyone enjoys.
3. Listen to Books
If your child is just learning to read, a book on CD is a great resource. It’s fun for children to hear a book read aloud to them while they follow along in the physical book. It teaches children to identify letters, sounds and words, and it gives them a sense of pride as they start to learn the words on their own. Listening to books in the car is fantastic fun for family car trips and much more interactive than watching a DVD.
4. Make Books Accessible
Children will be more likely to pick up a good book, if the books are accessible. I like to place bins and stacks of books throughout our home, making books simply irresistible to pick up. You can stack books on your coffee and end tables and place bins of books in areas that your child frequents, such as their favorite place to have an afternoon snack. Another great option is to have several bookcases throughout your home filled with books that your kids will enjoy. I also love to have a bin of books in the car that I periodically swap out, giving my son a fresh supply that he can enjoy any time that we hop in the car.
5. Make a Reading Nook
Sometimes home life is just too loud and busy to concentrate on a good book. Dedicate a quiet spot in your home as the reading nook. Some great options include an overstuffed cozy chair in a spare bedroom or den, a large bean bag in a quiet area off the living room or kitchen or even a pile of pillows in a secluded corner of your child’s bedroom. Remember to place a big bin or stack of books in the reading space, to encourage reading not snoozing.
6. Start a Neighborhood Book Club
You can start a neighborhood book club by inviting a handful of children that are the same age or reading level as your child and their parents to a monthly book club meeting in your home. Have an introductory meeting to discuss and decide on a book to read as a group. Then, meet once a month to discuss the characters and story lines. This is a great way for children to bond with their peers and a lovely time for you to engage with other parents who share your values about reading.
7. Utilize your Resources
There are so many excellent resources available to get your child excited about reading. Make it a point to visit your local library once a week to check out new books. Take your children to reading activities offered through your local bookstores and community centers. Give your children books as gifts and encourage them to use part of their allowance or birthday money to purchase a good book. Any way that you can get your child reading is a good way — you just have to find that one way that gets them smitten with reading.