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Let's keep kids reading
It occured to me recently, that only time of year you see people really emphasising the importance of kids reading books, is just before, or right at the beginning of summer. You go the library and you see all their summer reading contests and challenges. On social media, you see countless articles about how important it is for your kids to read during the summer, you see ton of book lists, and more.
Now, don’t me get wrong, I agree. It is very important to keep kids reading during the summer. I fully support and promote this idea. I even created summer reading printables and book lists myself, if you’re interested, you can find them here.
However, I am also of the opinion that this zealous insistence for reading shouldn’t end with the close of summer. I am sure that your children, as part of their schoolwork have to read a certain number of books for class.
I find though, sometimes when children are forced to read certain books and read nothing else, they don’t enjoy reading as much. They don’t build the same strong and long-lasting relationship with books, as they would if they simply read for fun.
As Kate DiCamillo so wonderfully put it: “Reading should not be presented to children as a chore, a duty. It should be offered as a gift.”
I think a good combination of both reading books for school and reading books for the sake of reading is healthy.
The important thing is that your kids keep reading books!
Reading is important
I have touched in older posts about the importance of reading for children. Some of the points I made were that reading expands vocabulary, improves reading and writing, enhances imagination, helps build better communication skills, busts boredom and more!
Sometimes it can be hard to get kids reading for fun. Especially when the summer ends and it seems that no one is expecting them to read just for the sake of reading.
Here are 6 effective ways to keep your kids reading all year round and enjoy it too!
Yes, audiobooks count as reading! I wrote an entire post about how audiobooks do count, that they are indeed not cheating.
Audiobooks are great for really apprehensive or struggling readers. They can listen to lots of great books while playing or drawing. Audiobooks, though they are not being physically read still offer many of the important things I listed above, such as expanding vocabulary, enhancing imagination, busting boredom, and even lengthening attention spans.
Some kids need an end goal to work for. Some sort of remuneration to encourage them to read more. It doesn’t have to be anything big or extravagant, just something small like an ice cream, or a new book.
A great method for getting kids to read more is by printing out charts for them to color in, as a way of keeping track of their reading. You can find lots of them on the internet. The charts below for example, have an object to color in for every day of the month. The child has to read for at least 10 minutes before they can color in the object for the day.
When they have filled out the entire chart, you could offer them a reward, such a new book to read (this is another great way to get them reading more), or some other small prize.
These charts are available as downloadable printables, there is one for every month of the year and they are reusable year, after year, after year.
Some kids don’t need to have a prize or reward for reading, but others do. If you own a kindle that your kids can read on, then you could also setup Kindle FreeTime. I have a tutorial on how to that here.
In that post I explain that there are goals and rewards, that kids can work towards by reading for a certain amount of time per day.
3. Reading Lists and Logs
Another thing that can get kids excited about reading are reading lists and logs. Using a reading list, such as the one below, kids can write down all the books they want to read. This will get some kids really pumped up and excited to start reading.
A reading log, such as the one below can also be great for kids to keep track of all the books they have read. When they see how much progress they have made, they will be encouraged to read even more!
Mind you, this is not a solution for every child. Some children might get discouraged at the length of their ‘to-be-read’ list, or their lack of the ‘have-read’ list. But, it’s an idea worth considering!
All of these pages are also available as downloadable printables.
4. Make Reading Special
If reading seems mundane and just another thing to do everyday like brushing your teeth, or making your bed, kids might not be that willing to do it without a fight.
But, if reading seems like something fun, or even something special, they will be all the more eager to do it. Some ideas for making reading time special are, having a cozy reading nook that is only used for enjoying the company of a book, or maybe just a special reading blanket, a herbal tea with honey in a special mug, or simply some soothing music played in the background, a beanbag seat might be fun, or just a pretty pillow to lean up against. It could even be something as simple as a fancy bookmark or a tin of book darts. It doesn’t have to be anything complicated or expensive. Just keep it simple.
5. Give Them Books They Will Love
One of the most important things you can do when trying to get your kids to read more is to make sure you are providing them with books that they will love. If they find a book boring, not interesting, or worst of all, hard to read, they likely won’t finish reading it. There are tons of book lists to be found with great book recommendations based on interests and reading levels.
Once you find books that engage your child, they will be reading like you have never seen them read before!
6. Be An Example
Last, but not least, be an example. I understand that many of you are busy parents, maybe you have a lot of little kiddos to take care of, or just a lot of obligations that keep you occupied, but if you can take even just a few minutes a day to read in spot where your kids can see you, it will encourage them to read more as well.
If they see that reading is not something that is expected of them, but that it is something you do as well and enjoy, your kids will be more likely to pick up a book themselves. What can I say? Parents are trends setters.
Do what works for your child
The list of methods above are just ideas. You have to find what works for your child, perhaps they would find rewards patronizing, but a cozy reading nook enticing.
Every child is different, but every child has the potential to be a great reader.