I remember when I started to love reading. I was about 7 or 8 years old and my parents gave me the Little House on the Prairie series. I was hooked, I read every single book. Some twice! Now lets fast forward about hmmm…30+ years and I have 2 young readers of mine own. Sometimes they are willing and sometimes not so much. Since they were old enough to pick up a book I knew I wanted to make reading fun and interesting. Here are some of my favorite ways I’ve gotten my kiddos to pick up a book and actually read it.
EASY ACCESS – Make books accessible is key. We have books in their room and also downstairs in our living room so they can pick and choose what books they want to read and when.
BECOME A ROLE MODEL – The best way for me to get my kids reading is by picking up a book myself. Seriously it takes about a minute of them seeing me reading and they are getting a book and sitting next to me.
GIVE VARIETY – Once your child begins to read, even just words or sentences they will want to read EVERYTHING! Encourage this by giving them comics, game directions, cereal boxes and kid friendly websites.
HAVE YOUR CHILD READ ALOUD – My boys love to read aloud to us or to one another. Sometimes at night we hear them in bed reading, which is my favorite by the way. Note to self – record them!
SLOW & STEADY – One of the lessons I learned early on that pressuring a child to read a certain amount of pages, chapters or timed reading will only make your child NOT want to ready…trust me on this.
READ TO YOUR CHILD – Children four to five years of age who are read to three to five times a week are at least six months ahead of their peers. If that isn’t enough reading to your little one gives you an excuse to snug, and to show your lighter side. I feel like a kid again when I read to my boys, by changing my voice and being silly…they LOVE it!
So get caught reading with your kids this month and throughout the rest of the year. Join the national campaign Get Caught Reading. This campaign is to remind people of all ages how much fun it is to read. The Get Caught Reading campaign is the brainchild of former Congresswoman Pat Schroeder. She saw the opportunity to spread the word about the joys of reading through an industry-supported literacy campaign.
Because of research indicating that early language experience actually stimulates a child’s brain to grow and that reading to children gives them a huge advantage when they start school, we hope to encourage people of all ages to enjoy books and magazines and to share that pleasure with the young children in their lives.
HELP OTHERS “GET CAUGHT READING”
This was heartbreaking to me —> 80% of preschool and after-school programs serving low-income populations have no age-appropriate books for their children. A recent study through United We Serve shows that while in middle-income neighborhoods the ratio of age-appropriate books per child is 13 to 1, in low-income neighborhoods the ratio is 1 for every 300 children.
A great way to improve the reading achievement of low-income children is to increase their access to print. Communities ranking high in achievement tests have several factors in common: an abundance of books in public libraries, easy access to books in the community at large and a large number of textbooks per student.
Anyone can get together to help increase reading achievement and literacy by organizing a book drive. This tool kit provides the basics to run a book drive, organize your group, and make an impact. If you can’t commit to organizing your own event you can simply commit to donating your gently used books to local organizations. Here are some tips:
- Consider libraries, non-profit children’s organizations for homeless, foster children and struggling families, Goodwill and Children’s Hospital’s thrift stores, and after-school programs.
- Call the charity or organization and see if they accept used children’s books and what their guidelines are.
- Go through your books and make sure all pages are present, readable and stain-free.
To give you a head start I’ve teamed up with Jim Henson to share with you a new chapter book series, Enchanted Sisters, targets newly independent readers and tells the stories of the four sisters – the Sparkles: Autumn, Winter, Spring and Summer who come together every three months to join their Mother Nature in a ceremony that changes the seasons in our world. Their world is magically different from our own, yet the Sparkles are completely relatable. They are confidently themselves, even when that’s the hardest thing to be. Continuing the longstanding Jim Henson Company tradition, the message in these stories about strong girls making bold choices are clear: embrace and celebrate our differences; anyone can be a hero; and families come in lots of different packages. There are also three additional Enchanted Sisters books in the series are available: Autumn’s Secret Gift, Winter’s Flurry Adventure and Spring’s Sparkle Sleepover.
You can now win a copy of the first book Enchanted Sisters: Summer’s Friendship Games by entering below. HAPPY READING!!