Yesterday we talked about Why we should get our littles to be lifetime readers, today we’re going to talk about the How of it.
I got your back.
I’ve already waxed poetic about reading to your littles when they’re young. There are so many benefits, and chances are if you’re here, you do that already. So let’s just take that as a given.
Lesson 1: Read to them when they’re little
Even if you think they don’t understand. They’re learning language, aren’t they? That’s how they start to talk. So read!
Lesson 2: Never stop reading to them
Sure, they are going to learn to read for themselves, and you should encourage them to do so at every turn. But my boys are 11 and 14 and I still read aloud to them every day. Every day. Why? Because (1) honestly, that way I know they’re reading at least one quality book at a time. They can’t survive on Walking Dead comics and Wimpy Kid books alone. (2) They enjoy it. I mean, if I get in a school groove and forget to read our chapter, they jump in and let me know. They Love It. And (3) it gives us a chance to discuss what’s going on in a book as we’re reading it.
When they’re reading alone, I might not know what the heck they’re talking about if they want to discuss something. (I said might.)
Lesson 3: Make books readily available to them
That means stocking up your tablets or phones with ebooks, sure, but also it can mean weekly library trips. Every kid should know the magic that is the library. I’m not saying that from the POV of a librarian, but from the POV of a child who grew up revering the library.
It means even more than that, though. It means having bookshelves that actually hold books. Leaving baskets of books in convenient places around the house. Not magazines. Books. Sometimes on a rainy day a book in our living room basket will catch one of the boys’ eyes and there goes any conversation I want to have with them.
And I’m not complaining. If they’re reading, I’m happy.
Lesson 4: Make reading fun
There are always activities to do with a book to make it more interesting for even the most reluctant readers. Just look at my Story Times or my Novel Studies. They are chock full of cool things to do while you’re reading a book. Because I love ya.
If (God forbid) you don’t like my stuff, there are lots of other websites you can visit to get ideas. Ginny over at Not So Formulaic has some brilliant ideas for enhancing the reading experience. Plus, she’s just plain awesome, so you need to check her out.
Lesson 5: Set an example
This should be obvious, but maybe it isn’t. Children learn best by example. What they see you do every day, good or bad, is being internalized by them . So read. Read in front of them. Talk about the book you’re reading. Let them know how much you enjoy reading. Make it a part of every day.
I mean, my parents did, and look where it got me.
Yeah Yeah, I’m the crazy book lady.
It’s 5 simple steps to giving your child the gift of lifelong learning. Not too hard, not too hard at all. But maybe that’s just me.