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I figured both my kids would love reading since I did. Not so much.
It was a humbling blow when my first daughter didn’t want to sit still for an entire story. Apparently kids aren’t born readers.
So, what’s a parent to do? Anything to raise a reader, including standing on your head. (It won’t come to that, though.)
I’m a firm believer in the “whatever works” philosophy. All kids are different. My daughter finally listened to entire stories while strapped in her high chair eating meals.
Since different things work for different kids, you’ll try a few things that hit and a few that miss. Try these eight tips and see what works for your child.
1. Bookapalooza – Make your home a bookapalooza – filled with books in every room, easily accessible for your child to grab and read.
2. Library Fun Trips – The library is the best free adventure. Visit weekly. Attend story times. Check out new books. Make it fun. We have a park next to our library, so our ritual was park-library-park.
3. Cuddly Book Buddy – Read with and to a book buddy – a doll, stuffed animal or pet. Show your kids how to do it. Then let them copy you. You don’t have to read the words – just look at the pictures and tell the story in your own words. That counts as important pre-reading work.
4. TV and Movie Favorites – If your children love a TV show or movie, find related books. Kids love reading about their favorite movie and TV characters.
5. Cozy Reading Corner – Create a comfortable spot for your child to read with you or alone. Think pillows, throw rugs, book tubs and lamps. Hang book posters or twinkly holiday lights. Make it a special place for reading.
6. Go High-Tech – Audiobooks can be checked out or bought to play on your computer. (They’re perfect for room time if your child has dropped her nap.) Consider getting books on a handheld reader or tablet.
7. Add Dramatic Flair – Reading aloud is the most important thing you can do for your child’s reading success. Make it even better by channeling your inner actor. Read dramatically – silly and fancy voices, loud and soft voices, monster and squeaky voices. You’ll have more fun and your child will too.
8. Live a Reading Life – Does your bookstore have an area for play? Many do. Grab yourself a coffee and let your child play at the bookstore. Then look around, and maybe buy a special book. Believe it or not, reading in front of your child is good modeling. Grab a book, sit and read for even five minutes. Show your child that you’re a reader too.
The more you read aloud and talk to your kids, the better readers they’ll be. Try some of these ideas. See what works to get them jazzed about reading and share your comments with us in the section below.