Healthy reading habits start at home, but sometimes even us parents need help coming up with ways to encourage those healthy habits. Since it happens to be National Reading Month, I decided it’s the perfect time to share some ideas on how to encourage your children to read… and maybe even have some fun together to boot!
Share a favorite story. When you were little, you probably had a favorite story. What story was it? Buy or borrow the book you loved as a kid and read it with your child. There are few better ways to kick-start your child’s reading than by sharing the stories that captivated your imagination. And the experience just might bring back an old love of reading for you too!
Make a reading nook. Most of us have books in our house, but we may not all have a dedicated reading area. Try setting up an area for your children to relax and read. It can be an entire room or just a corner. Even a small stack of books on the floor next to a bean bag can do the trick! If only for the month of March, children will be excited to celebrate reading in their very own space. In our house, we created our own little library on a landing at the top of the stairs. A couple small bookcases placed stategically do the trick just fine, and the kids are always begging to go to the “library” and have even had fun creating a check-in/out sheet for the books and displaying their artwork and cards from family.
Go to story time. Try attending story time at a local library, or consider hosting one in your home with friends. If that’s not an option or interest, you can still have story time with family members. Younger children may even enjoy hosting a story time with their favorite dolls or stuffed animals.
Make bookmarks! You can get your child interested in reading without picking up a book. Try making bookmarks together. Bookmarks can be made from lots of leftovers or would-be trash items. Scrap construction paper, old greeting cards, riboon… the list is seemingly endless. You can even find lots of free printables online. I like the ones I found here on Mocha Baby Design. They’re free and arranged by different themes. You can even print some out to color!
Offer rewards. Who doesn’t love a pat on the back? Even kids like to be told they’re doing a good job. Little rewards like stickers and even reward certificates are sometimes all that’s needed to keep a kid motivated to read. Personally, I love this Reading Rewards Scratch Off Chart from Dazzle Design. There are also a handful of free printable reward charts available through 123certificates.com that your children would be excited to receive.
Read outside of the book. Remember – we don’t just read when we open books. There are opportunities to read all around us. Take turns reading things other than books with your child; read road signs, a comic, the menu in a restaraunt, the dinner recipe. There are chances to practice reading in practically every moment of the day. Take advantage of some of them.
Just for fun and to help encourage reading at your house, I’m going to give away a copy of this fun Step-Into-Reading book, Wake Up Sun! This book was picked out by my second grader, Brandon, for another lucky little kid to read. It’s a fun book about barnyard animals who think that the sun forgot to rise one day. It’s fun and great for children that are just starting to read on their own.
How do you encourage reading at home? I’d love to hear your tips!