9 Tips to Teach Your Kids that Books Are Fun
Teachers and researchers agree that reading is a highly beneficial habit for kids of all ages. Yet with today’s tidal wave of new technology infringing on traditional pastimes, the bookworm is becoming an endangered species. New products market their learning advantages, and the internet offers students more information than ever before. In this environment, encouraging reluctant children and teens to read can seem like a chore, and it can be tempting to ask “How important is it really for kids to read books?”
The answer is simple: It is very important for kids to read. According to Child Development journal, reading is an active factor in intelligence and cognitive development. In addition, a recent article in Neurology journal suggests that continued cognitive activity in older generations means slower cognitive decline. In other words, reading is important for children, and continues to be important throughout a lifespan. It is crucial for parents to encourage their children to build a habit of reading at any age.
Not sure where to get started? Here are nine tips to help your kids understand that books are fun:
Make Your Home Reading-Friendly
No matter what whether your child is a preschooler, an elementary school student, or a teenager, there are steps you can take to make your home reading-friendly and encourage a life-time habit of reading:
Build a print-rich environment. Make your home a place where your children are surrounded by words. Research shows that print-rich classroom environments prompts literacy, but why limit this advantage to school? Have books at appropriate reading levels accessible to your child. Integrate words into your home decor. Invite your child to help you make artwork that includes some form of text.
Create “reading nooks”, both inside and outside. There are a thousand ways to create a beautiful and cozy reading space, and these will convince even a reluctant reader that books are fun. And if you need a change in scenery, why not take some cushions and a blanket to the park for and have a reading picnic?
Get library cards. Especially for younger children, having their own library card is a real thrill. Make weekly trips to the local library part of your routine, and let your children explore the amazing variety they will find there. Checking out and returning books on time will also help to teach them responsibility.
Institute “no screen” times. With all the technology available, it can be difficult to pull children away from their devices. Research suggests that limiting screen time is healthy for children, especially before bedtime. So set limits and suggest that they pick up their new book instead. If your child is currently caught up in an eBook, set the screen to dim and make sure he or she is not sidetracked by web searches.
Teach Young Children that Books are Fun
Building an appreciation for books early is not just important to your child’s intellectual development, it can also be a lot of fun for you.
Read out loud every day. Spending time reading out loud with your children has so many advantages! Not only are you giving them a head start in school by growing their vocabulary early, you are also spending priceless time together. While you sit snuggled up together, you are building lifelong memories for your child, and instilling a deep appreciation for books.
Go to library reading hours. Parents and children often make the mistake of thinking that reading is a solitary or quiet activity. Library reading hour will teach your children new ways in which books are fun! Most libraries have scheduled reading hours, in which children are encouraged to participate through responses, and even music. Reading can become a social activity for you and your child, which will encourage the continuation of a positive habit.
Foster the Habit of Reading in Older Children
If your pre-teen or teenager is not yet an avid reader, it is not too late. Kids in any age groups can get hooked on reading, and discover that books are fun.
Help your child find the right genre. Some kids don’t read simply because they haven’t found a genre of books they like. If your child likes history, maybe Historical Fiction is the ticket. Maybe they would like SciFi or Fantasy. Where to start? Well in addition to your local library, Amazon, Pinterest, and BookBuddy are also useful platforms to find a book that is the right fit for your child.
Continue reading out loud. There is no age to old to read out loud. Reading out loud may give your children access to a book that is currently outside their reading level, and give them motivation to continue reading. According to GreatSchools.org author, Connie Matthiessen, kids often have different listening levels than reading levels, and you are helping them develop both by reading to them.
Join or start a book club. You and your child may hold the misconception that book clubs exist for middle-aged women who just want to read Jane Austin. In fact, book clubs can exist for any age group, and promote any purpose. Make reading interactive and social for your kids.
Fostering a habit of reading in kids does not come without effort. Parents need to be intentional in their efforts and strategically promote books and reading in their home. Sometimes children may push back against new routines. However, teaching your children to enjoy books and reading together as a family is rewarding. Not only do you know you are giving your children an intellectual advantage, but you are building priceless memories together.