6 Ways to Turn Your Child into a Lifelong Reader
As a parent, you already know how important reading is for your child. The memory benefits and cognitive improvements just scratch the surface of the awesomeness of reading as a habit. But how do you turn your child into a reading superstar? It’s not as hard as you might think.
I’m Arizona school assembly performer Graham Rogers. For the last 20+ years, I’ve delivered educationally significant assembly programs to schools in the United States and across the globe. Each month I write articles just like this to help busy parents and school administrators navigate raiding children in our ever-increasingly chaotic world.
Reader for Life Tip #1: Choice Matters
Want your child to read more on their own? Let them choose what to read. Yes, your school has its reading lists and curriculum that must be followed. But to flourish, kids need to read on their own, too. And the easiest way to help them along is by letting your child choose their reading material.
It doesn’t matter – sports, graphic novels, YA horror – If your child enjoys a certain genre, they are much more likely to pick up a book on their own. As parents, it’s sometimes a knee-jerk reaction to turn our noses up at what our children decide to read. But if they’re voluntarily reading on their own, let them.
Take the win!
Reader for Life Tip #2: Visit Your Library
Libraries are awesome places that wonderfully serve their communities! Long gone are the days when libraries were nothing more than dingy and dusty buildings filled with old, moldy books. These days, libraries are more like the cultural epicenter of their town.
Visiting your library unlocks all kinds of hidden treasures. From incoming programs to gaming groups, to contests and more, libraries offer more than just books. And let’s not forget the Summer Reading Program.
Most libraries in the United States participate in the Summer Reading Program. It’s the library system’s big annual push to get more kids (and adults) into the library. There is a specific theme each with specific books highlighted in that theme. There are reading contests, prizes, and more. Many libraries bring in live entertainers to draw a crowd and spark more interest in the Summer Reading theme.
If you’re a new parent or are unfamiliar with your local library, do yourself a favor. Visit your library and prepare to be amazed!
Reader for Life Tip #3: Model Behavior
Want your child to read more? Read more yourself. Children learn much about their behavior by modeling. That is, they watch the trusted grownups in their lives and model what they do. As the old saying goes, ‘Monkey see, monkey do.’
Unfortunately, this is where it gets hard.
There is an alarmingly high number of adults who never voluntarily read another book once they graduate. That’s not good for sparking an interest in your child to read more. If you want your kid to read more, it’s time to walk the walk.
Reader for Life Tip #4: Make Reading a Family Affair
One easy way to spark more reading in your child is getting the family involved. Similar to the tip above, if family reading is part of everyday life, your child will have an easier time adapting to the idea that reading is simply a part of life.
Schedule reading time in the evening and especially on the weekends. If the entire family is involved, reading becomes easier and more fun.
Reader for Life Tip #5: Read Over the Summer
I’ve written about this topic before. The ‘summer slide’ is the period during the summer when many kids downshift their education. Many of these kids do not pick up a book again until the first day of school in the fall.
To prevent this ‘backslide,’ keep your children reading over the summer. Have neighborhood contests, rewards for hitting certain reading goals, and more. By encouraging your child to read over the summer, you help keep the reading habit as a habit!
Reader for Life Tip #6: Keep Books in the House
People of any age are more likely to pick up reading material if it’s readily available. Want proof? Think of the last time you went to the doctor’s office. You likely picked up a magazine or Reader’s Digest while you waited for your appointment.
Many doctor offices have poor cell phone reception, or they have a policy requiring cell phones to be turned off. Now what to do? Pick up something to read! But what does this have to do with reading at home? Simple.
Have books readily available on shelves, coffee tables, and more. Give your child an easy path to exploring reading at home.
Get Your Entire School Excited About Books
My “Superhero Reading” school assembly is a fun-filled reading-themed adventure your school’s students will love! The show is filled with magic, interactive fun, zany humor, and much more. Best of all, I designed “Superhero Reading” to align with Arizona’s educational standards. Find out more today!