It’s Back to School Time!
I remember when the start of the school year corresponded with cool, crisp fall air. Now, most schools are back in session long before Labor Day. Still, there is something special about this time of year, even for professionals. Maybe it’s the idea of new beginnings, or maybe it’s getting back to our daily routines that bring much-needed structure to our lives.
Either way, I’d like to honor the back-to-school season by sharing some of my favorite tips for fostering a love of reading in your family.
Reflecting On Your Own Reading Journey
We often pass on our own likes and dislikes to our children without even realizing it, so first things first: take a moment to reflect on your own reading journey. Did someone read to you? Were there a lot of books in your home? Did you go to the library often? Why is it that some of us gravitate toward reading as either a learning or pleasure activity while others are repelled by it?
My answer is that it depends first on our schooling, second on our upbringing, and third on what strategies, if any, we have learned to use. Since I have already shared many strategies on my blog, I’ll focus on the upbringing part here.
Getting Your Kids to Read
To instill good reading values in our children, here are some common-sense ideas for helping our children become life-long readers:
1. Limit Television And Screen Time
Limit television and screen time to no more than an hour per day. That is plenty of time for a busy school-aged kid. Better yet, restrict screen time, including playing video games or watching internet videos, to weekends only.
2. Read To Your Kids Daily
Read to your kids daily from the time they are born through first grade (about age 7). This quiet time, usually squeezed in at bedtime, is highly valued by both the child and the adult. It sends the message that reading is an intimate, quiet activity that both adults and children can enjoy. Encourage visiting friends and relatives to share in the ritual.
3. Let Them Read To You
Let them read to you once they’re able to read on their own (around 1st grade). Don’t feel the need to correct every missed word, but offer help when they ask for it.
4. Go To The Library Often
Go to the library often, even after they start school. Most public libraries have wonderful family reading programs for all ages and stages. Get your child a library card and call it their “ticket to the world.”
5. Help them find 20-30 minutes per day
Older children who are no longer read to each night can read independently and learn to enjoy daily reading as a pastime. Whether it’s on the way to school, during their after-school snack, or just before bed, help your child pick a time that works for their schedule and preferences.
6. Encourage Your Child To Read What THEY Are Interested In
Go to your local library or bookstore and tell them they can pick out only “x” number of items. You’ll be amazed at what they find when given the chance.
7. Let Your Children See YOU Reading Often
You might read the newspaper in the morning (and share the appropriate parts with them as they mature), your snail mail in the afternoon and magazines and books in the evenings.
8. Give Books As Gifts
Give books as gifts for birthdays and special occasions. If you travel, bring a book back and they will look forward to your return AND your gift.
Remember, learning new things is not just for our kids. As busy adults, it can feel daunting to have a list of reading material to get through. Bring more enjoyment to your reading life by taking my 90 day course and learning to speed read. Grab your FREE sneak peek here.