If you’re anything like me, you went through periods in your childhood when you didn’t like reading. My earliest memories of books are wonderful. The picture book period in my life was filled with Dr. Seuss, Disney characters, and Frog and Toad. But, as I learned to read on my own, I remember finding it harder and harder to find books that I liked. My parents and teachers expected me to read longer chapter books, and I wasn’t always onboard. It was about this time that I started playing a new gadget called Atari, discovered this channel called MTV, and my family got a brand new color TV with a newfangled remote control (with cord).
Today, countless distractions, most of them digital, compete for our kids’ attention (and they’re much cooler than Atari). Kids have choices when it comes to their entertainment, lots of choices. Books have stiff competition and some parents are left feeling they’re fighting a battle of books vs. everything else. So how can you help your youngster learn to love reading in a world saturated by media and all things digital? You can’t…I’m kidding, of course you can, if you try some of the tips below.
5. Read With Your Child: Many parents stop reading with their children around the time he/she can read chapter length books independently. Stop what you’re doing when they have reading time and join them. I don’t care how old they are, they’ll learn to love reading with you.
4. Reduce Book Hopping: Many kids read bits and pieces of books. They read a few pages of one book on Monday and then a few pages of another book on Tuesday and so on. Encourage your child to read entire books. If he abandons a book make sure he understands why. Was it too hard, too boring, too “lovey”?
3. Find Balance: Many kids watch tv or play video games for hours a day. Help your child find a balance between digital time and reading time. Sacrificing one or two episodes of Spongebob or iCarly a day can do wonders.
2. Set Goals: Many kids languish in the same book for weeks on end, never really connecting to the book. Prior to reading a book, set a goal for the completion date. Instead of having time limits for daily reading, i.e.: thirty minutes a night. Try setting page goals, i.e.: twenty pages a night.
1. Get Tech Savy: Young readers love digital devices! Get him his own digital reader. He’ll love the ability to buy books instantly and digital readers make finding new books easier than ever before.
There’s no perfect plan for helping your child love reading. Be supportive, patient, present, and let the video games and tv cool off a bit.