There’s a wealth of positive experiences to be found in reading books. There’s adventure and empathy. There are lessons of real world knowledge and morals. We all want our children to exercise their imagination the way we did growing up, by staying up under the covers reading with a flashlight and dog-earing real paper pages. However, we sometimes have trouble enforcing that. Here are some things you can do at home to make reading a source of joy.
Be the Change You Want to See
Between soccer games and band concerts, housework, your job, and the rare night out, it’s hard to find time to read yourself. However, according to Forbes, having parents who read and a home full of books will encourage your children to follow your example.
Go to the Library
Libraries are a great, budget-friendly place to help grow your children’s enthusiasm for books. With thousands of books on every imaginable topic, your children are sure to find something that piques their interest.
Read Books Together
It’s hard as an adult to remember how strange, new and almost magical reading is for a beginning learner. Your child may be frustrated he or she isn’t learning fast enough or may just want extra practice. Either way, curling up on a big comfy couch together with a collection of fairy tales or an exciting adventure is a great way to bond.
Let Them Read What They Want
Go ahead and stock your home with Charles Dickens, Shakespeare’s sonnets, and Frankenstein, but don’t forget to pay attention to what’s popular. Letting your kids relax with “The Hunger Games”, or their current choice of book, is important to fostering a lifelong love of reading. Children are more likely to finish reading a book if its one they chose by themselves.
Demand They Read Before Game Time
Make a house rule like the one Forbes contributor Jordan Shapiro uses in his home: 30 minutes of reading after school before your children are even allowed to turn on the TV.
Reward Your Child for Reading.
After your child has finished five books, buy a new movie or video game as a treat. Don’t forget to talk about the books with your child and bond over the stories together!
Go Somewhere Unplugged
It may seem counterintuitive to find time for books in the big, dirty outdoors, but it’s a great place to sneak in some quality reading time. Set up camp where there are no TVs or smart phones around to distract your family. Everyone can relax after a long hike with a book on the beach. Better yet, bring a book of age-appropriate ghost stories to read together around a bonfire.
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Go to Local Book Events
Libraries and bookstores run regular events for children. Libraries will help your child get a library card and provide games, and sometimes children’s authors will show up and do a reading. Here, your children can connect with other children their age and turn reading into a social activity.
Talk About Books Together
Find out what your child is reading at school and turn it into regular dinner conversation topic. Get involved in what your child is reading and even read it yourself. You might find some classics you missed or a new favorite.
It’s not fair to say that there’s a battle between books and screens, because in today’s world screens can be another delivery system for books. [Scholastic]’s research has show that children enjoy reading in different formats. If your child has electronic devices, make sure to download some e-reader apps. Look into checking out e-books from your local library as a way to save money and space.