I am a big fan of reading and writing. I have always been that way, though I also loved doing sports and other regular activities. In my mind’s eye I see myself as a newspaper report in the 1950’s, trying to get a big scoop or doing some investigative story about crime in the shadows.
Now that I’m a parent of young children, I know it’s my duty to try to instill that some love for reading and writing. It’s not easy to do when one child has more passion for reading than the other, but I try to do what works for them.
Here are my strategies that I use to try to encourage reading in my home:
- A variety of books. I think it is very important to have a variety of different types of books, such as some fiction, some nonfiction, some funny, some scary, and so forth. It is also fun to have lots of different authors too.
- Brand new books. It is so wonderful to see brand new books in the library and to be some of the first people to read them, and this is also true with children. New books are clean and beautiful.
- Comic books and newspaper comics. The Sunday newspaper still has comics and they can be shared at home. Also, sometimes we find comic books and these are fun to read too.
- E-books. Though I generally prefer the physical books, the electronic books from the library are also great to have on tablets. The library website makes it easy and quick to find the e-book version of your favorite title and check it out virtually real quick.
- Books everywhere. I like to have books available all over, in rooms, on shelves upstairs and downstairs, in the car, and any other place I can find. I figure that if you can see them then children are more likely to read them.
- Specific reading times. I think that it’s a good idea to have specific times set aside for reading. Even if the kids are not reading books, which I hope they are, they should be reading something to keep up their skills. Try to say something like “pick a book to read” every day of the year.
I am aware that it is not easy for some families to get to the library and that in itself becomes a barrier to having reading materials. It’s a big commitment to check out books, monitor return dates, and to pay late fines. It’s almost like a part-time job when you check out dozens of books each month.
Not all families have someone in the household who is passionate about reading. Hopefully you have at least one adult who makes it a priority to get new reading materials, and that the other adults show regular support for this process.
Take steps today to provide more reading materials for your children. It doesn’t have to only be physical books from the library. It can be so many other things that have words, sentences, and paragraphs.
The amount of reading time for each child per year is highly correlated with success in school, so let us all do our part to support more reading in the household. It is more important now given that there is so much distance learning happening around the world.