Want to find out how to raise a reader?
Check out these steps and you’ll find you are on your way!
1. Read to your baby or any aged child. It is never too early to introduce your child to books. Read board books to your infant, give them cloth books and float plastic books in the bathtub. Your children will grow knowing books are integral parts of their lives. Have books they are allowed to handle and play with so books aren’t something just big people touch. If the books have no words, or are word books like First Hundred Words, make up stories about the pictures. Point out all the objects in the pictures. Soon, they will be able to point to them when you say the word and they will understand that there are words for everything.
For older kids who still haven’t caught the reading bug, start today! Set aside time to read to them. Put a basket in their room or in the family room. Start rotating books into the basket without making a big deal about it. Don’t have a basket? Make it a drawer or a shelf. It will become a magical place where new and interesting books appear and soon they’ll ask you to read to them or you’ll catch them paging through books by themselves. My Director with UBAM told us about that idea years ago and it really works. Also, make sure to praise them for looking at books or playing with them appropriately. Ask them about what they liked without making it too much like you’re testing their reading comprehension.
With older children, continue to read aloud – or start. Perhaps you have kids who love to read or those who don’t really see the point. For the ones who don’t see the point, they have aliteracy – apathy towards literacy.
2. Make time for books. Like everything, if we don’t set aside a specific time for what we want to accomplish, it doesn’t get done. So, put in on the calendar so you make sure to read to your child every day. Nap time and bed time are obvious opportunities. Another opportunity might be over meal time or while they are in the bath tub. If you have a toddler and a baby, try reading to the toddler when you nurse or rock the baby, so they feel special, too. One of our favorites has always been The Big Book of Farmyard Tales. It has a read-along CD so if you can’t manage to read, nurse and turn pages, it reads for you. You just have to snuggle.