By: Lizette M. Lantigua
Most parents wish their children would read books as fast as they go through the snacks in their pantry! They often ask me for suggestions on how to encourage their kids to read more. Here are some of my best tips to get your child to become a lifetime book lover!
- If you want your kids to read, have them see you read! Kids copy everything you do, not necessarily everything you say. The pleasure of looking for a terrific book on vacation, speaking about how the book made you feel, and sharing the funny moments you enjoyed about the book with them, is contagious!
- When your child wants to buy a book, don’t discourage them by telling them you are only there to buy a book for school from the required reading list, or only if it counts for their Accelerated Reader or Reading Counts school programs. There is such a thing as reading for fun!
- If your child really loves a book but it’s not in his reading level. Suggest that you can read it with him out loud, or that you will help her with the words she doesn’t understand. If the subject matter is age appropriate, let your child do the extra effort to read something he or she really likes. It will only help them master unfamiliar words and feel accomplished.
- Start a book club with his or her friends. Create activities and food items to match the theme of the book. Have them ask questions and have everyone share their thoughts on the story. Have a Mother Daughter book club or one with your sons. Fathers can also get involved and share this bonding experience with their child.
- If there is a movie based on a book. Read the book first and then go enjoy the movie. Discuss how true the movie is to the book.
- Set out a special time for reading. If your children are young, cuddle and read aloud to them. If they are older, designate a time daily for leisure reading at home or in the backyard, patio, park or beach.
- When you travel make sure you purchase or check out books from the library on the town or place you are visiting. This way the experience becomes alive and truly enjoyable.
- If you are going on a road trip instead of bringing a surplus amount of videos to play over and over in the car, bring a small bag of books for each child to enjoy.
- Find a subject matter your child is interested in. It may not be fiction. Your child may love to read on DIY projects. Purchase books on crafts, knitting or any hobby she/he truly enjoys.
- Take your child to the library often. Check out books or purchase them. Many libraries have a section where they sell books to make room for new releases. These books are usually $1.00 hard cover and 25 cents paperbacks or some other inexpensive rate. Libraries also have author visits and storytelling time. The same goes for school book fairs and local book stores.
- Most important try to always read what your child reads not only to share a common enjoyable experience with them, but also to make sure it is age appropriate and it aligns with your moral and Christian values.
- Don’t always purchase the books your child wants to read. Buy them other books you have an inkling they will enjoy but may not choose on their own. I remember buying my daughter books she wanted to read, and some books that I thought she might enjoy, like those on presidential history. She learned to enjoy them so much in grade school that when she grew older, she graduated from college with a history degree and now works in a museum!
If you treat a book with immense value and respect, your child will too! A book may even propel your child’s future career. One day, he or she may grow up to be a writer, a historian… or maybe a mom or dad that loves to cuddle with his or her child while reading a delightful book!
Lizette M. Lantigua is an author and founder of Good News! Book Fair www.GoodNewsBookFair.com.