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Teach Your Child to Love Reading

A book is more than just a story; it’s a magical journey that takes the mind through the creative land of the writer. In addition, reading a book can stimulate the mind in more ways than watching a television program or playing a video game ever could. Yet, with the increase in cable network television, movies, video games and computer games, children are spending less and less time reading and more time getting lost in technology’s slush pile.

In fact in a study conducted by the Harry J. Kaiser Family Foundation concluded the following, children living in “heavy ETV households are more likely to watch every day (77% v. 56%), and to watch for longer when they do watch (an average of 34 minutes more a day). They are also less likely to read every day (59% v. 68%), and spend less time reading when they do read (6 minutes less a day). In fact, they are less likely than other children to be able to read at all (34% of children ages 4-6 from “heavy ETV households can read, compared to 56% of other children that age).

The study indicates that watching television has a significant effect on the interaction of family, reading, and schoolwork. Therefore, we have put together some great ideas to help you get your children on the reading wagon, so they will always make time to read.

Preschool
Allow your children to see you enjoying a book, newspaper or other reading material. Just as so many things that are important for children to see us parents doing, lead by example. For the good stories that you read (and age appropriate) tell your child the stories enthusiastically. Just simply give a short synopsis, even books you read as a child or in the past can make children want to read, “Oh I read this great book about…”

Share bedtime stories with your children nightly. Read as many fairy tales and creative stories as possible. Make each story fun with a personal touch, if you are reading short stories make each character’s voice different. This will bring the story to life for your child and make the story an intimate adventure for you and your child.

Main points to address:

  • Allow your children to see you read.
  • Give your child a synopsis of the story you are reading or have read in the past.
  • Share bedtime stories often.
  • Make it fun.

Grades K-3rd
When children begin school, they begin having weekly visits to the school library. For each book they bring home have a family book-report night. Just like playing charades, gather the family, some popcorn and the book. Have the children act out the book or orally tell the story of the book they read, each family member should also share a book report from books they are reading or have read in the past.
This age, with so many new and exciting things with school and friends, children become overwhelmed and reading begins to take a back seat to everything else. Encourage your children to read more often, yet don’t push reading on them or force them to read. Sometimes at this age it’s best to share a story together, have your child read one page and you read the next. See who can make the funniest way of telling the story or who has the deepest voices while telling the story. This will make the adventure that much more interesting.

To encourage sight words and help children recognize them use labels around the house to help them along with their reading. Place labels on doors, windows, couch, wall and various other items and have your child read them every time they walk past them.

Main points to address:

  • Put together a family book report night.
  • Encourage reading don’t push it.
  • Encourage reading with labels around the house.

Grades 4th-6th
The adventures are just beginning for children in this age group; 4th-6th grade is when the chapter books are introduced. There’s no book in the world like a chapter book, be sure to have plenty of these books around for your child. You can find plenty of these types of books at book fairs, book bazaars or you can use book-trading sites such as:

Make visiting the library a family tradition that is worked into your family schedule once a week or once a month. Allow your children to bring home their favorite choice books, but only allow them to take out two at a time, unless they need reference material for school, when children have too many books to read from the library they begin to feel overwhelmed with books and normally end up not reading any of them. 

At this age after being involved in so many books, children have a tendency to have great creativity and thoughts about stories and characters. Sit down with your child to write your own story together, allow them to come up with the idea and you simply add to it. This is a great project for parents and children. You can even get the story published through your local printing shop or print it out yourself with a publisher program and staple your masterpiece together.

Main points to address:

  • Make sure you have plenty of books around the house.
  • Visit the library consistently, either every month or week.
  • Help them write and publish their own books.

Resources
Resources that can help you in your venture include:

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