Since the fall season is upon us, I thought it would be a good time to discuss a few simple ways to help your children fall in love with reading and books if they haven’t already. Even if your little ones are already avid readers or seem to love books there are still some things you may want to consider doing to enhance your children’s reading and read aloud experiences.
With so much technology and social media available today, how do you get your children to choose reading books over watching television, sitting in front of the computer, playing on the iPad, or texting their friends?
Below are a few ideas that may help. Read on.
1. Make your children a part of the story
Children love looking at pictures of other babies and children in books, especially when it’s their own pictures. One way to make your child a part of the story is to create personalized books through online websites like storieChild.
I found out about storieChild a few weeks ago while surfing the web. storieChild offers one-of-a-kind story books and baby books for children ages 0-8+. They pair technology with creative arts while guiding you through the process of creating an amazing story for your child. Their products are designed by artists and storytellers and are available exclusively through pre-sale on their website.
Creating your own story book with storieChild is super simple. Say goodbye to those complicated websites that are way too time consuming and nearly impossible to figure out. With storieChild not only do you get a beautiful, personalized book with your child/children as the star, but you also get an actual story to go along with it. Oh, and did I mention the entire process only takes about 10 – 25 minutes?
If you’re as excited about storieChild as I am, YOU can get in on the fun too! That’s right, you can win your very own softcover customized storieChild book for FREE (pick any story of your choice)! All of the details are listed at the end of this post, but read on for more tips.
2. Bring them new books every day
No, I’m not talking about going out and purchasing a new book each day for your child. I mean show them at least 1 book every day either from your home library collection or your local library. For example, every Monday (or sometimes on Saturday) I do a library haul. I pick out through a stack of children’s books, read them, and bring my favorites back to the kids. Then each day during the week I read the kids different books or sometimes we’ll read old favorites that we already have.
The idea is that if you are trying to sell kids on books you should bring them books day after day. These books should be ones that you think are: exciting, funny, poignant, adventurous, beautiful, interesting, or mysterious. Bring your children books that support their current interests, make them wonder, stretch their imaginations, light them up with amazement, laugh, feel empathy, and connect with their own lives. Sometimes you can bring them new books that are hot off the press, and old favorites from your childhood. You get the idea.
3. Let them choose what they want to read, even “twaddle” (occasionally)
If you don’t know what “twaddle” is, it’s basically literature that has been dumbed-down and doesn’t add any value. I don’t currently let my children choose their own books unless it’s an alphabet book. However, I know as they get older they’ll want to start choosing what they read and I’m ok with that as long as it’s not all the time.
As the kids age, I’ll have to learn to back off and let them read what catches their eye and ignites their imagination as they build their relationship with reading. If it is twaddle books, I’ll have to assure myself it is okay if they start with worthless ones.
While I still have control over choosing their books, I’ll continue to guide them into the amazing ones until they start telling me to “back off”. So if all your child wants to read is comic books then let them and be grateful they are reading something.
4. Practice storytelling with story cards
A few months ago, I wrote a post about a simple way to improve your storytelling skills by using eBoo story cards. You can read more about the story cards here. The kids and I still use our story cards every once in a while and I can honestly say I’ve seen progression since we first started using them, especially with my 3 year-old. And for the price I paid (under $10.00 per pack) it was worth it.
5. Explore different libraries in different cities, states or countries
I’ve taken the kids to several libraries throughout Connecticut where we live and even to a couple in a different state. We attend story time events as well as other programs and activities all for FREE. I believe just by exposing kids to libraries helps them develop a love of reading and books in general. Also, when we go to story time events they have the benefit of hearing someone else read to them and learn to sit attentively and listen with a group of children in a different environment. A win-win.
6. Entice children and make them curious about books
I’ve noticed whenever I start clutching a children’s book I just read myself and start saying things like, “I love this new book…it’s so good!” the kids are instantly intrigued and want to know what the book is. Try it next time and see if you are nearly stampeded by your kids dying to read it next.
7. Read your own books/magazines in front of your children
I’m sure you’ve read this tip before numerous times, but in order to build a culture of literacy in your home it’s important for your children to see you reading often. Telling them, “Reading is important!” is pointless, if you never sit down in front of them and eagerly dive into your own reading material. If all they see is you collapsing in front of the TV or constantly sneaking off to your computer or checking your phone when you are tired or bored, they will learn that this is how one spends the invaluable minutes of one’s life. Remember, YOUR attitude toward books and reading will likely be your child’s attitude as well. Be a good role model to your kids.
I believe the only true gateway into the world of reading, is by motivating kids to want to read something – anything. When they start to realize the wonder of books, the places they can go, the people they can meet, and the things they can learn through books, I think only then can you start to stand a real chance at helping them become successful and lifelong readers.
Don’t worry if your child isn’t “there” yet, meaning they don’t have a real interest in books or reading…it’s ok…I understand! As the parent it’s important to keep trying and remain excited. Make reading a priority in your own life and your kids will likely follow suit. Every child is different, but I believe you can encourage every child to like books once you find what appeals to them.
Your turn: How do you encourage your children to love reading and books? Feel free to share in the comments.
I am thrilled our friends over at storieChild were gracious enough to sponsor this awesome giveaway! This would make a great holiday or birthday gift – wouldn’t you agree?
What you’ll receive: 1 softcover customized storieChild book of your choice (Sorry, this giveaway is only open to US residents who are 18 and over.)
Deadline: Enter by October 17, 2015 for your chance to win. Good luck!
P.S. Now through October 31, 2015 get 10% off all books and boxes by using code OCTPRESALE at checkout on the storieChild website.