Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Encouraging a love of reading in young children

Wednesday mornings are my date times with this handsome little boy. Although his sister has been around for almost 2 1/2 years now, I still remember when it was just Isaac and me paling around everyday together. It is nice to have one morning a week to spend alone with my little guy.

This morning the two of us dropped E. off at school and then made our plan of attack. I told him the things that needed to be accomplished (a bit of cleaning at home and running the car through the car wash) and then we settled on the fun things we wanted to do together. We opted to make a run to the library, hoping to find the latest in the Magic Tree House series and sit in on storytime.

After our time at the library was over, I suggested a stop by the local resale shop so we could browse the used book section for a few minutes. This request was met with great enthusiasm from the boy in the backseat. While in the store I peered over at my blond hair boy, sitting criss-cross applesauce on the floor with a mound of books around him, and smiled. He was engrossed in the pages of a book and did not even notice that his mama was gazing at him (he likely would have asked me to stop if he had caught such an exchange). I love that he already loves books and reading. His reading skills are getting quite good and he manages to surprise us daily with the words and sentences he can read (unfortunately, he is also starting to be able to figure out what Tobe and I are spelling to each other when we do not want the children to know what we are talking about).

The other day a fellow mama asked me how to encourage a love of reading in children, especially those who might be a bit hesitant to stop and sit quietly with a good book. Below are a few tips and tricks that can encourage reluctant readers.

1. Let them see you reading. Children have to learn that reading is fun and enjoyable. Don't save personal reading for late at night when children are in bed. Take time during the day to sit down with a good book or a fun magazine when the kids are present. Tell them about what you are reading and why reading that particular book is exciting to you. They are more likely to be excited if they see your enthusiasm.

2. Find books that match their interest. If your kid loves trains, find a variety of books about trains (both fiction and non-fiction). Although I love to read, I would really struggle to sit down with a 400 page novel about electronics. Such a topic does not interest me. However, I am more than will to sit down with a 400 page mystery novel.

3. Point out the written word in everyday life. Some kids are hesitant to read simply because they think they cannot. Build their confidence by asking them to read familiar signs, such as the one outside favorite fast food restaurants or retail stores. When children realize they can read things out in the everyday world, they are a bit more enthusiastic about sitting down to read a book.

4. Read daily. Tobe and I read to both kids on a daily basis, several times a day. This is a special bonding time and a time to share a good story together. We read to them as a group and individually. A while back we started reading chapter books to Isaac. He really loves this time and we have worked through various series together.

I wrote an article about this topic a few months ago, which includes some more tips and tricks.

How do you encourage a love of reading in young children?

1 comment:

Specks said...

Great advice (btw, I am really loving all your recent fall pics! both kiddos are beyond adorable). One of B's most comforting activities is being read to (it is basically like his pacifier), so like you, we do those several times a day and it is a great bonding time to turn off the tv, ignore the phone and internet, and just connect 1 on 1.