Monday, February 18, 2019

How To Raise Your Kids To Be Readers

The Race Car is almost 2 and has followed suit with the big kids in wanting to read books before, during and after breakfast in the mornings.  I hadn't really paid much attention to it until the big kids were spending the night at their grandparents house and the Race Car started asking for books all on his own.  Besides the fact that an ability and desire to read is oh so important for any person's education, one of my biggest fears in regards to my kids and their education has always been that they would hate reading, especially the boys.  You always hear the stereo-type of boys hating to read and my brothers were that way so I just figured it would be a problem.

Well, so far so good is the state of affairs in our house, I guess.  Two out of three kids are reading on their own and I always have to make them put a book down in order to get them to listen well.  The third seems to be well on his way, as far as I can tell.  So, yay, but I can tell you with certainly that it doesn't just happen, as if they are all born with it like they are born with brown eyes.  There are some things we have discovered that really encourage a healthy reading environment that I thought might help other parents wanting the same thing.

Remove Obstacles.  While you can't force anyone to love something, you can remove the obstacles that could hinder them from loving it.  That includes distractions, limited access, and, of course, learning difficulties.  If the television is always on in your house, wouldn't you have a hard time focusing on books with ease?  If you never were given new books or didn't go to the library very often, would you get excited about reading the same thing all the time?  If reading is hard and stressful, you wouldn't look forward to it either! Put effort into making reading a positive, natural experience by having screen-free times of the day, setting aside time to work on any learning difficulties, and make regular trips to the library!

Read Aloud.  Most parents know it is good to read to your child before they can read for themselves.  Once they start school and learn to read themselves, it is easy and very tempting to quit.  You might think they don't need it anymore, but they do!  Reading aloud feeds their development through  vocabulary, sophisticated language, moral lessons, and enjoyable time spent with you.  Bedtime reading is a nightly ritual with all three kids and has been since J was born 8 1/2 years ago.  We often read storybooks with the Race Car and after he's in bed, we read whatever chapter book we're working on at the time with the big kids for a while.

Read Yourself.  Trust me when I say, I know how hard it is to find time to just read for fun. Still, if your kids never see you pick up a book, it's easy to think it really shouldn't be required of, much less enjoyed by them.  Mr. Butler is always bringing home various books from the library and at least perusing them. 

Every person and family is different, but one thing is pretty consistent: Instilling a love of something in children is infinitely easier when they are surrounded by others who support and love it too.  

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