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Instilling a Love of Reading in Your Kids

Reading. It’s one of those things you know you need to do with your kids, yet with the busyness of life, can easily fall off the wayside. Not to mention all the other things that compete for your children’s limited attention span on a daily basis – TV, toys, computer, homework, sports, video games. Did I mention TV?

Well, it’s a new year and I hope you’re encouraged by this post to make 2016 a “Year of Reading” in your home, and use these tips to get you and your kids on the reading bandwagon.

Love of Reading in Your Kids

 

Get excited about reading. If it’s a chore for you to get your kids to read, then it’s going to be a chore for them to do it. Although I was a reader growing up, once I had kids, I knew reading was important but didn’t know why until a couple of years ago when I read The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease. I learned about the 32-million word gap, and about the numerous studies that show how reading, and in particular reading out loud to your children (even teenagers!), is the single most effective thing you can do for their education. And, it’s free! For some additional inspiration, check out my favorite podcast at the Read Aloud Revival with Sarah Mackenzie. Every time I listen to it I feel motivated to take over the world, one book at a time.

Make a weekly trip to the library. The library can be intimidating at first, and it will be difficult for your kids to feel “at home” and peruse the thousands of books if it’s not a regular part of their schedule. Get them their own library cards, introduce them to the children’s librarians and get to know the layout of the books. It used to bug me when my boys would make a beeline straight for the super hero comic book section until I realized that it was the only section of the library they felt comfortable with. I then made sure to show them different sections where they could find books about animals and science (some of their favorite topics right now) and their favorite author, Mo Willems. Their library selection has changed dramatically since then.

Have books in every room of the house and within reach. Okay, you may think this is a bit extreme but hear me out. You want your kids to get used to books as a form of entertainment and learning, and it’s hard for that to happen if you keep all your books restricted to one obscure corner of the house, on a high shelf.

In every room? Yes! Your house doesn’t have to look like a library; a few simple “book baskets” next to the couch, the TV and yes, maybe even the bathroom, will make books readily available for your kids. And while you’re at it, throw a few in the car. You will be surprised how this small simple change will get your kids picking up a book or two when they would otherwise have been reaching for a video game.

Within reach? If you have little ones and you’re afraid they will tear up pages, remember the goal is not to have pretty books on a shelf, it is to get them to love books. Buy some of your children’s favorites in board book format for the little ones and NEVER pay full price. Many libraries have “Friends of the Library” bookshops where you can buy books for as low as $0.50 or $1. Also, check out local thrift stores and used book stores. It doesn’t hurt as much when your kiddo breaks apart a book that cost you $1 rather than $18.

Get Audio Books. What if I told you there’s a way to keep your kids in blissful silence while you’re driving that is legal and does not involve electronic devices or the threatening of their lives? It is possible! We first delved into the world of audio books with the audio drama Under Drake’s Flag. My boys loved it, and honestly, my husband and I were hooked on the story as well. The last two big hits we had were Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of Peter Rabbit and Other Stories narrated by Jim Weiss, and The Tales of My Father’s Dragon.  You can easily get audio books from the library, as well on your phone on Hoopla (I love Hoopla!) and Audible. One tip about audio books: not all narrators are created equal. You may pick up an audio book that ends up being a flop because you may find the narrator’s voice or reading style annoying or hard to understand. Don’t give up on a book just because you didn’t like the narrator.

Know How to Find Good Books. If you think of books as food for your child’s mind, then you want to make sure that he or she is getting a healthy serving of nutritious meals. Think of funny, silly books as literary junk food, or “twaddle” as some call it, and books that explore powerful ideas, instill character and morals, teach historical accounts and deal with tough issues they may one day face as the literary equivalent of organic, GMO-free, farm-fresh gourmet food! However, it’s impossible to pre-read every single book your kids like in order to make sure it’s up to par, especially when you have a lot of them – kids that is. This is when you rely on handy “book lists.” There are many lists online you can find on Pinterest, but you can also check out book reviews from GoodReads.com and CommonSenseMedia.org. Also, check out these homeschool favorites to create your own lists:

Make  Reading a Fun Part of Your Family Traditions. If reading together is not part of your family culture, it’s never too early nor too late to start. When I first started doing read-alouds with my boys, I wasn’t sure how they’d respond, so I made it an extra special time by making hot chocolate with marshmallows and giving them a few cookies.  You can also give them a few incentives like we’re doing now with the Read-Aloud Revival’s 31 Day Winter Read-Aloud Challenge.  Or you can join the Family Dinner Book Club over at Growing Book by Book, where each month you read the chosen book with your family, and participate in the suggested activities related to the book. Whatever you do, just make sure to make it fun and meaningful for your crew.

I’m really looking forward to building great memories through our reading this year, and I hope you are too. But tell me, what are some of the challenges you face and tips to get your kids reading? Please let me know by leaving a comment below.

Here’s to a 2016 full of reading fun!

Readers in Training

 

 

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24 Comments

  • Reply Abby

    Good reminder! Salma new years wish is to teach other kids to read

    January 7, 2016 at 9:56 am
    • Reply Nermarí

      Aww, what a great New Year’s wish! <3

      January 7, 2016 at 11:11 am
  • Reply Paola Collazo

    Happy New Year Nermari!

    January 9, 2016 at 11:50 pm
  • Reply Erin @Nourishing My Scholar

    Awesome tips! We let our son pick his own books both at the library and audio books. This has really helped him with his love of reading. I’m going to try your suggestions and see if we can take that love even further.

    January 10, 2016 at 9:22 am
    • Reply Nermarí

      I’m glad they’re helpful! Picking their own books is key because at the end of the day, they need to like what they’re reading. I just found that it got to a point they needed a little ‘nudging’ – like temporarily banning super hero books. Ha! I have also hidden all the Captain Underpants books in the house ?

      January 10, 2016 at 9:41 am
  • Reply Lori

    I love the picture of your kids reading! This was a very helpful post!. Growing up I always had a book in my hand, everywhere I went I carried a book. However, the past couple of years I have not read as much. I just started reading again within the last month and I missed it so much! I want to be an example for my children and let the see me with a book in my hand and not reading from my cellphone or tablet all of the time. I also just started taking my children to story time at the library. I definitely agree with what you said about keeping books in your child’s reach. This is a good thing because they will get a book and go through it which gets them familiar with reading Only bad thing is my one year old pulls all of the books out and spreads them over the floor 🙂 Honestly, I don’t mind though I just want them to have a love for reading.

    January 11, 2016 at 12:09 pm
    • Reply Nermarí

      Yes, that’s a good point about your kids seeing you read an actual book bc when they see you on the phone, they don’t know if indeed you are reading, or on FB, or playing a game. At least my kids associate phones and tablets with games, not books. My little one would get to my lowest shelf with school books and do the same thing! Especially since she knew it would quickly get my attention! Lol. But now she’s just a bit over 2 and can page through and handle books so well! Just don’t get her upset while she’s holding a book 😉

      January 11, 2016 at 2:26 pm
      • Reply Lori

        Lol yes I know what you mean. Also, my children associate phones with games as well. If only they knew…I wish that was the case.

        January 11, 2016 at 9:09 pm
  • Reply Tuned In Parents

    Wonderful reading tips for little ones! I hadn’t thought about the audiobook in the car (using it!). Too sweet not to tweet!

    January 12, 2016 at 5:02 pm
    • Reply Nermarí

      When I discovered audio books about a year ago, I wondered why it had been kept secret from me for so long! Thanks for stopping by 🙂

      January 12, 2016 at 5:48 pm
  • Reply BeyondMommying

    Love all your tips, reading is so important to our family as well. I just picked up my first novel in years and can’t put it down, I’d forgotten how nice it is to read from a BOOK rather than a screen! Glad to see you sharing on the #BeyondMommyinSiS Link Up!

    January 12, 2016 at 9:35 pm
    • Reply Nermarí

      I finally had something to share!! 🙂 I used to read so much when I was you, and that’s my goal this year… To read, not just school books and bedtime stories… But to read for me. Thanks for stopping by!

      January 12, 2016 at 10:34 pm
  • Reply Maria from Collecting Moments

    I absolutely love this post. As a mom to a 2 year old, I take pride in helping her love reading as well. Your point of having books in every room of the house is perfect! I’ve done that with my daughter and it works so well because it gives them that option of reading in such unconventional places–like the kitchen table or the TV room. The fact that we started reading to her as early as one month old also helps a lot. Now that she’s two she loves books! Thanks so much for sharing this on Manic Mondays.

    January 18, 2016 at 2:39 pm
    • Reply Nermarí

      Yes, reading to them early makes such a difference. Although all of mine like books and reading I see such a big difference with my littlest one who has been surrounded by books since she was born. Thanks for stopping by!

      January 18, 2016 at 3:26 pm
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  • Reply tenderfootmom

    Great post…we love to read, the audio books is a great idea for the car x

    February 13, 2016 at 5:04 pm
  • Reply Kate

    This post is so encouraging! I really liked your point about getting the kids comfortable with different sections of the library. Right now my kids just want to read Star Wars books and I want them to branch out. 🙂 I too have found audio books to be an incredible resource in the car. My kids love story of the world and the Jonathan park creation science series – the audio books keep them calm in the car and I can count that time as homeschooling too!

    April 27, 2016 at 9:38 am
    • Reply Nermarí

      I’m so glad you found it helpful. Since I’ve shown my oldest two the animal section, that’s all they get now. We must have 30+ books about different animals from the library – cheetahs, armadillos, snakes.me.. and on and on. They were just asking me the other day that they want new audio books, so I’m gonna have to check those out. We’ve now listened through all the G.A. Henty audio dramas. We absolutely love those.

      April 27, 2016 at 10:51 am
  • Reply catherinemryan

    Reading is a huge part of our lives here! My 2-y-o is obsessed with books, so reading is a part of every meal, every drive, and every bedtime routine.

    April 28, 2016 at 7:26 pm
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