Encouraging A Reader
If you read my last post, and hopefully you did, you know that today we are talking about reading! Some children are naturally voracious readers, while others, well, aren’t. I loved reading as a child, and my oldest daughter has followed that pattern. My middle daughter, on the other hand, is not a fan.
I have talked with so many parents over the years who say their child won’t sit still long enough to read a story, they can’t pull him or her away from the tv or tablet, or they just don’t have time. I completely get it! I’ve been there too! We all have. But at the same time, we all also know how important reading is for a child’s development. So how can we help our kiddos who just aren’t into it?
Short Attention Span?
Some children can easily focus and sit still for an extended period of time, while others can’t. This especially applies to younger children and often to boys. Instead of forcing them to sit still for long books, we can embrace this season of life with our book choices. Short books will be your friends! Books with great illustrations, silly sound effects, and books that are funny are great options. Also, books that involve the reader, requiring dance moves, wiggling toes, or funny faces are great options too. In all honesty, I don’t want to read books about farting dogs or other bodily functions, but guess what, kids DO. Farting will always be funny to a 7 year old, and if it gets my kid reading more enthusiastically, I’ll embrace it. The Book With No Pictures, the Pig the Pug series, Press Here, and Can you Make a Scary Face are all great options to get you started.
Stuck to the Screen?
Screens are a part of life these days and they aren’t going anywhere. We limit the amount of time we let our kids watch TV (some days are more successful than others) but one way to get your children more involved with reading is to provide books pertaining to their favorite characters. This is easy for younger kids; it seems every Disney show or movie has an entire line of books, coloring books, activity books, and more. But oftentimes, books are made into shows or movies, so be sure to check out options for older kids as well. The BFG was one of my favorite books as a child and while I think the movie is slightly terrifying for kids under 10 or so (maybe older or younger depending on your child) it’s a great book/movie combo to explore. Harry Potter, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Jumanji, Curious George, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, Charlotte’s Web, Chronicles of Narnia, The Lorax, Wild Kratts, there are so many! Also, if your child is a YouTube fan, there are even Ryan’s World books. Think about your child’s favorite show, movie, or even subject and look into corresponding book options.
Ugh, we could all use a few more hours in the day, right? We spend a lot of time in the car these days, running between school, sports, and other activities. Instead of handing your kids their tablet, why not try an audio book every now and then? Our local library has free access to the apps Libby and Hoopla with your library card and I’m telling you, it’s the best thing EVER. (My love for a library knows no bounds. Have I told you how much I love a public library?) With Hoopla and Libby you can check out electronic versions of books. Not every book is available in an electronic format, but there are tons of options. Every time I am taking the kids on a road trip I download several books to play in the car for them. Did I mention it’s FREE?
One last idea…
OK, I’m going to totally age myself right now, but in the name of education, I will do it. Who remembers the Book It! program from school back in the day? It was a program sponsored by Pizza Hut where you had to read a certain number of books, and then your teacher recognized you, you got a certificate and a free personal pan pizza from Pizza Hut. Ya’ll. When I earned my certificates, I couldn’t have been happier if you had given me a unicorn. Why? I have no idea! It was just a pizza (delicious, albeit) that cost $3. But kids like a challenge and they like a prize. And pizza of course. Why not create your own reading challenge? Choose an attainable number for your child with a set reward at the end, and see how it goes!
How do you encourage reading in your household? I would love to hear your ideas and feedback. Let’s create a whole new generation of readers! Do you think Pizza Hut will make a Book It! program for adults? Asking for a friend…
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