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Tips on Raising Kids Who Love to Read

“The more that you read, the more things you will know.
The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” – Dr. Seuss

Thinking back on my childhood, I recall many positive experiences reading with my parents, grandparents, teachers and friends. I remember looking at picture books, getting excited about being able to read a chapter book and reading classics such as Charlotte’s Web. As an educator, it makes sense that I want to encourage children to experience the same joy of reading, which is also why I’m so excited that the last week of January 2019 is Literacy Week at Bialik.

Give Your Child Advantages

As technology becomes more and more part of our lives, it is important for parents to understand the importance of raising kids who love to read.

Children who read regularly from an early age stand a far greater chance of educational achievement than their non-reading peers.
Enthusiastic readers develop broader vocabularies and are better able to express themselves.
They develop an understanding of the written word, essential for success in academic tests.

While we all want to see our children thriving, one of the most common questions I’m asked is:

How can I inspire a love of reading in my child?

Here are some tips that will help get you going:

1. Read to your child from the earliest age

Beyond keeping kids healthy and safe, one of the most important things parents can do is read with their children. Reading story books from an early age certainly helps to foster a lifelong love of books and reading as well as curiosity for the everyday wonders of life. Read to your child as often as possible and do not stop reading together once your child knows how to read.

Reading aloud promotes language development and early literacy skills, such as book handling, understanding how stories work, recognition of sounds and letters, knowledge of a wide range of vocabulary and the ability to listen. Reading aloud also builds motivation and memory.

2. Ritualize daily reading time

Parents who read aloud to their young children help them acquire skills they will need to be ready for school. Studies also show that reading with children from an early age helps them to interact, bond with adults and read early themselves. Reading with kids who already know how to read helps them feel close to parents, understand the world around them and be empathic citizens of the world. We continue to inspire our children and educate them by reading to them daily.

3. Allow readers to read comics and magazines

As children grow and learn, so do their challenges. Whether a child is struggling with reading a traditional chapter book or is simply no longer interested in what she or he used to read, with our evolving and changing world, books that parents read while growing up may no longer be of interest to our children.
We need to continue to encourage children to read things that interest them. It is important to encourage children to read graphic novels, comics, the sports section in the newspaper, magazines as well as environmental print. Some reading is better than no reading!

4. Introduce new books by telling the story through the pictures

Books are not all about the words! It’s about the skills and imagination that come with the reading. Children develop literacy skills and an awareness of language long before they are able to read. Research demonstrates that since language development is fundamental to all areas of learning, skills developed early in life can help set the stage for later school success.

Looking at the pictures without reading the words can help set those foundations as well. I don’t know about you, but I still prefer looking at the pictures sometimes.
Another great strategy here is to share the responsibility of reading with your child. Alternate who reads each page and even bring unique voices to each character.

5. Make it fun — play games

We have a responsibility to encourage reading as educators and parents, but that doesn’t mean it has to feel like a chore. For example, ask your child to:

Find words that start with a letter
Find rhyming words
Predict the end of the story

Make Connections

  • Reading and literature have an immense positive power. Getting hooked into a book can allow a child to escape from the pressures of their own life. Children’s books often reflect the trials and tribulations of childhood.
  • There are many new children’s books available to support children on subjects that relate to important themes such as bullying, manners, perseverance and mindfulness.
  • Relating to characters enables the development of empathy and understanding. These traits are ones that we need in raising the next generation of leaders. In addition, reading allows us to learn more about different cultures, ideas and themes. I see the enjoyment and love that my own children have when they make connections from a text to their own lives.
  • Often, children can make connections with stories and concepts in areas such as science and social studies. A simple Dr. Seuss book such as The Lorax connects the importance of protecting our environment through a journey of imagination and rhyme.

Recently, my Grade 1 daughter brought home the story, Goodnight Moon, in Hebrew from the school library. The excitement on her face when I read the Hebrew text while she followed along reading the English text was something I will cherish forever. I saw her learning come alive and this moment captured the importance of cultivating the love of reading along with quality family time and making the home-school connection valuable and meaningful.

Let me know

So, as a continued part of your reading journey, why don’t you snuggle up with a good book to enjoy some quality time with your child! Don’t forget to let me know what your favourites are! I always love talking about books. Now, where did I put my book?…

Lauren Damelin
Vice Principal, Himel Branch