There are at least 10 ways to encourage your children to pick up books and to enjoy the pages that will unfold.
In our family there were books in the house before the baby came home from the hospital. And shortly after we had one, we had two babies very close together so, I will talk about Babies!
So the #1 way to encourage readers to become voracious is to have the books right there, readily available, in their room.
Using the books to decorate the walls made the baby’s eyes wander to the colorful pictures that were everywhere.
From the day they arrived, my husband took great care to read to the baby everyday. Even if they were asleep, he would read to them. I believe that it helped them to understand language much better even though they didn’t have a clue what he was saying. He was very good at “playing” the parts he was reading.
Once the children were old enough to understand words, and were talking, they got to pick the book that would be read.
My son and daughter always had the same favorite book and day after day, when daddy was finished reading the book he wanted to share with them, they would ask for one more of their choosing. Every night it was the same book.
Daddy got to the point of knowing what was on the next page before the page was turned and the kiddies would be so upset with him for going too fast. He was bored with the story though! Late on a Friday night, after his story was read, I knew that their story was going to be next. So while I was doing the dinner dishes, all I could hear from the children’s room was fits of laughter!
What the heck was going on here! Then I took my spot outside their door watching……..
Daddy had their favorite book turned to the back page and was reading the story backwards to them. Needless to say, it sounded like a bunch of gobbeldy-gook. I was laughing, so hard and the children would take their father to task. “Daddy, that’s not how the story goes! It goes like this and they would “read” it back to their dad the right way.
They had learnt the story word for word because they had heard it so many times before, but, they were also able to put the words from their lips to the page, knowing exactly the sequence that the story followed. They were reading by rote and that is not an entirely bad thing.
My children have played this game with their kids and I know that there are hoots of laughter happening in their homes too.
So here’s the rest of my list :
- Lots of books, colorful pictures, large print for babies and toddlers, and a willingness to re-read their favorites endlessly.
- A specific time to actually read with them. We would save a half hour each night.
- A comfortable place to have children in your lap while you read to them.
- Choices of books, lots of choices.
- Books that the children know, like Sesame Street books featuring their favorite characters.
- Alphabet books are great starters. Every Letter has a really short story of one word. So my husband would say the one word and make up a story.
- You know your children when they become toddlers. Do they like trucks? Then a whole bunch of books about trucks would probably be a great idea.
- Color on and wipe off books are great for you to become the story teller.
- Be expressive when you read to your munchkins. Intonation and sound effects always go over well.
- Several different levels of reading material, so that they can transition from one to another without having to go to the library.
Laughter and a willingness to be a little silly made reading to the children a joy.
When they came into their own around 13-14, they knew that the end of the day was reading time and when that was done they could and did take the books to bed. There they would continue reading until they were asleep.
We have raised three very good readers and I know that they will be turning out some great readers as well. My grandchildren love books too!
Reading is a life long activity that, if they grow up enjoying it, the chances are better that they will continue reading all through their adult life.
Picture Courtesy of Pixabay, Workinghamlibraries.