In a world where hand held devices captivate our children’s attention and minds, it’s often hard to get them excited about reading a plain old book. I can remember as a child spending hours alone with the characters in my books and becoming immersed in their stories. I would laugh and cry, celebrate in their victories and mourn with them in their losses. Those stories helped shape my character.
If your children are like mine, getting them excited about an afternoon of reading can be a daunting task. These are some of things we have done at our house to encourage our children to read more.
1. Choose books that have had movies made out of them. Once they have read the book promise them a movie night. Make sure you talk about the similarities and differences between the two once the movie is over. This has allowed for some fun discussions at our house. Some of my favorites are: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Stuart Little, The Borrowers, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and James and the Giant Peach.
2. Take reading on the road. If you have a nearby park, grab a blanket and some snacks and enjoy the outdoors. Coffee shops, gardens, lakes, etc. Those are all great places to spend some time reading and get your kiddos excited about doing something different.
3. Place books everywhere. I always keep books or magazines in the seat pockets of our vehicles. Place them in baskets around the house, on coffee tables, even in the bathroom.
4. Give them reading incentives. You can do this on your own, or participate in your local libraries reading program. There are also so many other places that reward students for reading. Every year we participate in the Six Flags reading program and Braum’s Buddies, ask around and see what establishments in your area offer incentives.
5. Let your children see you reading. When they know it’s important to you, they are most likely going to follow suit. Talk about what you’re reading. If something exciting is happening in a story share it with them, if the conflict is something they can understand talk about it.
Bonus: Have a READ A THON. My children love it when I tell them we are going to have a book picnic in the living room for the day. I let them bring in blanket and pillows and spread them out across the floor; they grab piles of books and we spend the day reading. Sometime I will even let them bring their lunch and snacks to the floor as well. It’s one of their favorite school things that we do.
While I don’t have any illusions that my children will always choose a book over an electronic device when given the choice, I do want them to have a love for great literature. Anything we can do to make reading a book a contender in our children’s entertainment choices is a win.
What is one thing that you do in your home to encourage your children to read?