As the father of a toddler son, Brian Jr and a school age daughter, Melinda, my wife, Mackenzie and I read books to them throughout the day to engage their learning path and grow their vocabulary.
On days we are all home together, my son picks the book we read after breakfast, my daughter picks the book we read after lunch, and my wife or myself picks the book to read to them for bed time.
In between the three books we read daily, we encourage our kids to read on their own by:
- Each of our kids have a bookcase of their own with age appropriate books.
- Each of our kids have their own reading corner in their rooms.
- The whole family participating in a reading hour from 4pm to 5pm before dinner time.
Here are 3 ways to get your kids to read more and to increase their literacy skills.
1. Read Wherever You Go
According to the Chicago Tribune, one of the ways that you can get your children to read better is to read wherever you go.
While it’s important to incorporate regular book reading into your children’s routine at home, reading can be done anywhere using many resources. Show your children that reading is a skill needed for daily life anywhere they go.
If you are at home with your children you can:
- Read the words on their favorite cereal box.
- Tell him or her what it says on their graphic T-shirt before it’s put on.
- Read a text message from a loved one.
- Practice word flash cards.
If you are out and about with your children, you can:
- Read what it says on a menu.
- Read a sign posted at the grocery store or doctor’s office.
- Point to a store’s name on the building and read it.
- Download reading and literacy apps for a cell phone or tablet for your kids to play while on the go.
2. Read and Write More than Just the Nightly Story Time
As I mentioned earlier, we incorporate story time 3 times a day whenever we are all home together for the day. Depending on your personal schedule, this set up may not work for you and your family.
You can incorporate more reading and writing into your children’s routine by:
- Asking your children to read you their favorite story.
- Limit screen time and have an independent reading hour before dinner.
- Pick a family friendly audio book for the whole family to listen to together for 15-30 minutes a day.
- Having your children’s inner creativity come out by asking your kids to write a story, poem, or just a few paragraphs about how their day went.
3. Pick Up a Book, Parents!
That’s right! Reading in front of your kids will increase their desire to want to mimic you and read on their own time, too.
According to Aha! Parenting, being the main role model by reading books, magazines, or newspapers in front of your children will make them want to read print materials as well.
Dust off those old magazines that have accumulated in your closet and give them a good read before you recycle them. Grab your favorite book and read it for a half hour or so per day. If you buy a newspaper or receive a newspaper subscription, read it while you are sitting in the living room with your children.
Whatever print material you choose, you will show your child(ren) that you value reading and its importance to succeed in life.
In this Tech Age, kids prefer games and television over reading books. Everything has a time and a place. Develop a love of reading for your child(ren) by reading wherever you go, read and write more than just for nightly story time, and reading in front of your kid(s). Your children will surely thank you when they grow into esteemed adults that love to read.