Reading is one of the most important skills in life. Yet some children and adults will never know the joy reading can bring. So how do we instill in our children the love of reading? Here are some steps that we can take to start fueling the desire to read even before they can.
R. E. A. D.
Read yourself and to your children
- Yourself: This is the most important. The old adage “Do as I say, not as I do” doesn’t work. Children need to see you set the example. Find books that you enjoy. Read them in front of your children (even if you have to read the same sentence over 10 times). Just seeing you read will encourage them to pick up books to be like you.
- To your children: Find a story that they can connect with. I suggest stories with a good moral lesson. As you are reading with them, stop and ask questions. Also, tell them what you are learning from the story. Tie the lesson to something in your every day life so that they can see the connection between reading and learning.
If you have the space, place a bookshelf in every room. If not, place a few in a drawer or on a nightstand. Make books accessible to all children. As far as bookshelves goes, assort the books by age levels. Adult books are high up, school age books in the middle shelves and preschool books are on the bottom shelves. In addition, do not feel like you need to keep them organized. Children will use them more if they are just put on the shelf. If this bugs you, get a bookshelf that has cabinet doors that you can close if company comes over.
It is really easy to try to entertain our children. The problem with entertainment is that if children are constantly busy they never take the time to read. It is so much easier to watch a TV show or play a video game than to amuse ourselves with books. Therefore, create a quiet time, 30 minutes to an hour where kids can only read or look at books.
Damage is okay
This is a challenge for me. I hate when books get damaged. My husband is constantly reminding me that this is a good thing. It means the children are playing with and looking at them. So books will be damaged, but they can be replaced. If kids see books as a pretty decoration they will never understand their true purpose. Books are for studying and learning. Great books teach us so much about people, places, the past, and morals. They are an investment into our family’s future.
These are just a few ways we can encourage our children to love reading before they learn the skill of reading. What are your favorite books to read with your children?