A child who reads becomes an adult who reads. Most adults who begin reading at an early age continue to learn by reading throughout their lives. Reading is more than a necessary skill - it's a source for learning, entertainment, enjoyment and comfort. The skill of reading can be one of the most valuable gifts that you give to your - or any - child.
Still, the question remains: How do you get children to read? There are so many distractions in today's world - television, cartoons, and video games, to name a few - that it may seem impossible to get your children to sit down and read, let alone turn them into reading enthusiasts. As a mother who has raised five avid readers, I can tell you that it's nowhere near as hard as you might think. Here are ten important tips for getting your children to read - and loving every minute of it.
1. Let them see you read.
I'll bet you thought that #1 would be "Read to them", didn't you? That's important (and it will get its own tip), but the single most important thing you can do to raise children who love reading is to be a reader. It doesn't matter if you read magazines, newspapers or books. What is vital is that your children, from an early age, see reading as a valuable and fun thing to do - and the best way to show them that is to read in front of them.
2. Read to your children regularly.
Bedtime stories are an enduring childhood ritual, but don't stop reading when your kids outgrow being tucked in at night. In our house, we made nightly reading a part of our evening - not at bedtime, but in the living room. Even when they reached their teens, my kids would often wander out into the living room to listen if I was reading to younger brothers and sisters.
3. Talk about what you read.
I am not suggesting that you should give your kids a reading comprehension quiz every time you read a story to them. Instead, get used to talking about the books that you read in casual conversation. Mention how excited you are that your favorite writer has just published a new book. Ask them how they think Ramona (or Harry Potter) would handle a situation. Remind them about scenes in stories that you read to them when you run into similar scenes in real life.
4. As soon as they're old enough, get them a library card.
Your public library is still the very best source of reading material. Take your kids to the library often. Hang out with them in the kids' room and let them choose their own books. Get them familiar with the librarian, and let them see other people enjoying books.
5. Make a big deal of their personal writing.
Writing gives kids an appreciation for the written word and deepens their enjoyment of reading. When children and teens start writing their own stories, they stop viewing books as something magical and unusual, out of their reach. If your children write, treat their writing as you would any other book. Buy them a journal. Help them create and bind their own books. Put their books on the bookshelf next to their bought books.
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