Tips for helping your kids become avid readers
You know how you are always looking for a quick fix that will make a huge difference in your business? Or in your business trajectory? As you think of your kids, there is something that will make a huge difference in their life and in their trajectory. That thing is reading. So for me, the thing that I just kept hitting on over and over and over again, is read to your kids. If you want help your kids become avid readers, you've got to read to them!
How do you get your kids to be avid readers?
So, how do you get your kids to be avid readers? As a college professor, I love education and research. I have a two and a half year old. When we found we were pregnant my research brain went into overload. My biggest thought was, what can I do to make sure my kid gets all the thing that a kid needs to have? What I found over and over again was read to your kids.
Reading to your kids is so incredibly important. Especially when we're finding out how bad screen time is for kids. Being a reader makes you a better business owner, a better employee and a better person. It give you a better perspective.
A lot of the issues we have right now stem from people not having a perspective in history. Many studies equate the decrease in empathy with the decrease in reading. The more you read, the more you investigate other characters, you hear other stories, and you become much more empathetic to other people. The more exposure you have to characters who are not like you, and the more exposure you have to history and the stories of history, your perspective will grow.
The impact that fostering an environment of reading will have on your children will be huge.
Three main tips to help your kids become avid readers
Tip #1: Read aloud to your children on a regular basis.
The earlier the better. The more words your child hears the better their vocabulary becomes. Everything from literacy scores, language acquisition, success in school, and success in life will be impacted by reading aloud every day to your child. Here is a great article on "Literacy, Language and the Brain".
One of the things that you can do constantly as well, is talk to your children, talk throughout your day. Although, maybe you are not really comfortable with that. But if you read to your kids and you read things aloud, then that will help them. The more words they hear, the better. Make reading aloud to your child on a regular basis a part of your daily schedule.
In our house, there are at least two times a day that we read. We read during Erik's nap time and as part of our evening routine.
One of Erik's and my favorite book is "The Little Blue Truck". I have a really interesting story about this book. This really blew my mind. But, when I was pregnant, my sister-in-law came to see us for Thanksgiving. And when she came, she brought us "The Little Blue Truck". For the next 30 days, we basically read "The Little Blue Truck" every single night to Erik before he was born. And I remember the first night we were home from the hospital. Jeff was sitting with Erik holding him after we had fed him and reading to him "The Little Blue Truck". And Erik's little facials went almost like, "Oh, wait, I know that." It was just the coolest thing to see his little face, to see this brand new newborn, look like his thoughts were, "Okay, this is safe."
Another favorite book on letters is "Chicka Chicka Boom Boom". When we first started reading it we did it by saying the letter names, and Erik learned all of his letters. But then we thought, "Oh, no! He needs to know all the sounds." So we started reading the book, but instead of saying the letter name, we said the letter sound. We would read it about three times a day, and in about two weeks, Erik knew all the letter sounds, and he could read the book to us.
Now, "Goodnight Moon" is a must in our evening routine. We also enjoy a book about counting called "This Little Piggy" The story goes like one little piggy does this, two little piggies do this, and it goes all the way up to 10. I especially like the part about how the four little piggies like to knit, because I really like to knit! It's a really cute book, and really helps kids learn how to count to 10.
Tip #2: Keep books around your house
You might ask, but how can I keep lots of book around the house. Books can be expensive, although kids books tend to not be too expensive. You can get a lot of board books for $5 a piece. Here are some ways you can build your at-home library:
- You can get them on sale on Amazon.
- Ask for books for Christmas.
- You can go to the library and check out books. Even now. I know a lot of you can't go to the library, but a lot of libraries are doing curbside pickup. You can actually call the library and tell them what your kid is really into right now. And the library will be able to help you find age appropriate books. Although you won't own the books, you will be able to have a great variety of books available for your children to read.
- You can have an Amazon wishlist that you can share with family members so they know what kind of books they can get you.
- Friends who have older children than you most likely would love to give you books that their child has outgrown.
- Used bookstores, discount bookstores, Goodwill and book sales are great places to get kids books.
Now here are two very interesting stats that I would like to share with you. According to The Literacy Circle, the only relation that correlates significantly with reading scores is the number of books in the home. According to Social Stratification and Mobility, having books in the house is twice as important as the father's education level. Here is an article on the "Fifty Top Literacy Statistics".
So, it's important to keep a variety of books in your home. They don't necessarily have to be books you own!
Tip #3: Let them see you reading. Reading frequently and enjoying it will reinforce reading as a part of your daily life.
Okay now, this tip is on you! You need to model the behavior. Kids need to see you reading. You can’t expect your kids to be awesome readers if you don't read. You probably feel like you don't have time to read.
Here are a couple of things we do in our house, and once again, the library is a great resource for this! Next to the couch where we like to sit, both Jeff and I have a basket. And in that basket, both Jeff and I have a couple of books, a couple magazines, and some catalogs. I have a couple of different types of books I like, so I can actually sit down and read them. Deep thought kind of books. And then I have some that I can read a couple of pages and put them down.
Read one page a day, and before you know it you'll be done with that book! Find things that interest and motivate you. So as you are winding down for the night, instead of being on your phone, read a little bit. Flip through a magazine or a book.
I do want to caution you though. In order to model the correct behavior for reading you must read an actual book. Don't just read an ebook. If you're reading on a screen kids can't differentiate what you're doing on the screen. They just know that you are on the screen all the time. And so they want to be on the screen all the time. It is so important for your kids to see you reading and to model the behavior that you want them to have.
Here is an article that I found extremely interesting on "Getting Your Child to Love Reading". Now that I've shared my top three tips to helping your kids become avid readers, I'd like to share many more tips on how to make sure your children love reading! Make sure to listen to Episode 18 of my podcast for more ideas on how Jeff and I incorporate reading into our lives and how we make sure to read to Erik many times throughout the day.
List of Favorite Children's Books
More Tips to help your child become an avid reader
Here is an article with "5 Secrets to Raising Avid Readers" that I think you will enjoy reading. In a nutshell here are those five tips:
- Choose books that you both will enjoy.
- Choose topics that interest them - find book selections based on their interests or certain activities or animals they like.
- Try different genres - Encourage your kids to not only read fiction but nonfiction can also peak their interest and get them excited to read. Children love to see close up pictures of animals or insects and also love to learn how things work.
- Don’t be afraid of a challenge - Encourage children as they grow and become more advanced readers to try books with less pictures or chapter books. Children tend to be excited about chapter books and can let their imagination run wild and create their own pictures to bring the story to life.
- Don’t overwhelm them - Encouraging your kids to be more advanced readers is great but be careful not to push too hard. This will backfire and cause them to become frustrated and disinterested in reading.
This article "15 Ways to Trick your Kids into Becoming Avid Readers" has wonderful tips as well. Summarizing, they are:
- Read to your kids from an early age
- Make reading interactive - Don’t read at your kids but read with them. Have them point out characters in pictures, role play, be more engaged and excited when reading
- Take your kids to the bookstore or library - Let your child explore on their own and decide what books interest them
- Choose age appropriate books - Make sure to match your child’s reading level. Books that are too easy will be boring and books that are too advanced will be discouraging and make them become disinterested.
- Go beyond books - Encourage your kids to read everything from menus to road signs
- Create daily rituals - Turning reading into a daily ritual might encourage your children to make this a daily habit and they might not ever see not reading as an option.
- Create a comfortable reading area in your home - Allowing a comfortable place for your child to read can encourage them to want to read more. Also, letting them designate their own reading spot in your home might encourage reading even more.
- Make older kids read to younger siblings - Your older child will feel a sense of pride and motivation to teach something to their younger sibling or to share a favorite story with them. This will be rewarding for the older siblings along with the younger ones as well.
- Discuss the material - Help your child establish connections between the reading and real life by asking questions about the book or story.
- Use positive reinforcement - Praise them when they pick up a book to read on their own or remind you that it’s reading time.