Notes on Parenting

Insights for parenting babies, toddlers, teens, and young adults.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Helping Your Children Love Books and Love to Read



Benefits of Reading

We all want our children to be proficient in reading, but seeing them enjoying, loving, and choosing to read can become a far off dream for us. I remember my mom making us read and then quizzing us on the books to make sure we actually read them which never failed to stress me out! I also remember having to read books for class and never really enjoying the books -- as it often is with our children when they are forced to do something they often resist.


Why do we want them to enjoy reading?
Aside from the obvious desire to avoid fights over assigned reading, we want our children to enjoy reading because every time you open a book you have the opportunity to learn something new. Your child may become interested in something because of all he/she learned about it in a book.

Also, reading is a wonderful way to learn new words. Almost every time I read a book I either learn a new word or remember a word I had forgotten about. There are so many wonderful words out there; so many fresh, new things to be said!

There are so many books on so many topics, with varying characters, set in wonderful worlds and places. Reading books can stretch your child’s view of the world, broaden their understanding of different cultures, and help them learn to accept others merely by being able to understand where someone is coming from. Traveling to help broaden your child’s world view can get expensive, but a trip to the library is free.

Reading can also be a great alternative to video games, television, and movies. Whereas solitary activities that wrap us up in our own bubble can be socially damaging if engaged in too often, we must admit that reading is intellectually stimulating and most likely superior in many ways.

Our Children Can Learn to Love Books

Reading is seen as work, as a school-type activity and is often resisted so we fear it will always be a battle. But our children can learn to love books and love to read (keeping in mind some people just do not enjoy reading). There are so many things we as parents can do to encourage reading.

What Can I do to Encourage Reading?

1. Success and positive praise. We want to do things we are good at and so it is imperative that we help our children learn to read. If they are struggling, their teacher is a great resource for finding ways to help them at home. If they are capable, teaching them to use a dictionary is a wonderful way to help them find success in reading. They can learn they don’t have to be frustrated by not understanding every word! Making sure each time they improve is praised (no matter how small an improvement) will encourage them to keep trying and boost their self-esteem.
2. Setting the mood. If they are reading a book set in a jungle you can buy a CD with jungle sounds that you can put on while they read. Turning the lights down, or turning on a lamp can do this too.
3. Having a cozy reading corner for your child so reading feels fun and special. Maybe even making a snack of popcorn or even just a bottle of water can also make reading time feel special. Reading in a fort is always fun, no matter the age!
4. Reading with your children from a young age can get them in the habit of reading, but can also help     them associate reading with the special times they share with you.
5. Setting the example. If your children see you reading for fun they will most likely pick up the habit/desire.

Remember to make reading fun and happy and do your best to help your child feel successful when they read so they will feel good about themselves every time they pick up a book -- that alone will motivate them to choose to read.

Do your children enjoy reading? What have you done to encourage reading in your home?

photo compliments of John-Morgan

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