Encourage Reading

Literacy is an essential element of survival and success. Many parents struggle with ways to develop a love of reading. Here are some tips and ideas that we have used in our home to encourage reading:

  1. Of course, the first tip is to read, read, read. Put books all over your home, and make them available just like you do with toys and games. Even with my babies, I keep a few board books (especially the touch and feel type at this age) in every room. Try to set a time each day that you read to your children. The best time for us is at night, right before bed. Reading is a part of our bedtime routine.
  2. Set a time each day that is quiet reading time. At first, you may have to sit with them and read, but eventually this will grow into a time that your children value independently. This time is best for us after lunch, when tummies are full and morning activities are completed. Remember that these times take “time” to settle into your routine and life, and being consistent and leading your children in this will eventually “pay off.” Reading time can be 15 minutes at first, and you may find that your children are extending it to a full hour as they experience the joy of reading.
  3. Visit your local library. Let your children explore books and different types of books. Get involved in the FREE library programs. There are programs for all ages now, not just toddler reading times. Get to know your librarian, and ask for book recommendations while sharing your moral “compass” in order to give the librarian assistance with recommending appropriate material. Make sure you join and encourage your children to actively participate in the summer reading programs which usually give lots of incentives (prizes) for reading accomplishments!
  4. Participate in any reading incentive programs you can find.
    • Check with your local bookstores for summer reading programs. I know that we always participate in the Barnes & Noble summer reading program, and Books A Million also offers a summer reading incentive.
    • Sign up for the Pizza Hut BOOK IT! program for each school year! As a homeschool family, you can visit http://www.bookitprogram.com/Enrollment/homeschool.asp to enroll your students that are entering grades 1-6. Must enroll by September 1st of each school year.
    • If you are a member of Essential or Birmingham Homeschoolers¬†Community, join my classes at Book Adventure to earn prizes for reading and completing quizzes on books. Create a “school student” account for your child aged 4-14 at http://bookadventure.com. Join the classes (teacher last name is Trent) as detailed here:
      • HH/ECS Beginners – for beginning readers aged 4-7 (grades K-2)
      • HH/ECS Readers – for readers aged 7-10 (grades 3-5)
      • HH/ECS Advanced – for advanced readers aged 9-14 (grades 6-8)

Hopefully, some of these tips will be useful as you encourage reading in your home. Giving a child the gift of reading is like teaching them to fish…they can now “feed” themselves!

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