Are you aware that there is a crisis in the American educational arena today? That the children who live in the greatest super power country of the entire world are no longer the brightest nor the best educated children any more! In fact, colleges are crying out for help because the average freshman college student does not have the reading comprehension to read an assignment, contribute to a class discussion and certainly not able to write a college term paper.
What can we do? Educators in all grade levels are pointing away from the high tech gadgets that today’s child spends countless hours on and towards an old forgotten favorite; books. But some say that their children are not interested in reading, that they don’t enjoy nor like reading. Here are 10 different ways to help your child to love reading.
1. Set the example for reading. Let your child see you read an assortment of different items from the mail, to the newspaper to books. Be willing to share from your reading, is there a story in the paper that will affect your community, a funny section from your book. The dinner table makes an excellent place for everyone to share something from what they are reading.
2. Read out loud to your child everyday. Get into the story, use different voices for the characters, be as silly as possible. Lower your voice in soft parts of the story and then grow loud at exciting times. Reading isn’t just for bedtime; make a tent in the living room and snuggle with blankets and pillows. Or enjoy a story outside on the back porch. That’s the beauty of books, they can go anywhere.
3. Make a weekly trip to the library. There is usually a story hour at the library and sharing a story with others is always fun. For older kids have them join a book club or start one if there isn’t one going. Make sure to check out some books before you leave the library! Make some of the books fun and at age level also get some books that will challenge your child’s thinking and imagination. Different topics in different areas; stories, science, history. Open up different areas for your child to see and explore.
4. Ask questions when you are done reading. What was your child’s favorite part of the story, which was their favorite character? How would they of liked the story to have ended?
5. Let your child follow their interests in their reading material. Do they love horses; are they into World War 1? What a great way for them to learn and enjoy their favorite subject. And don’t worry; their interests usually shift before they run out of books in that topic. Especially, if new topics are available for them to glance at.
6. Give books as gifts. This is the perfect time to invest money into nice hardbound books of a favorite author or series. To finish the series that the child knows or to introduce a new author, ask the child. What a perfect time to build a nicely stocked library in your home. A child can’t grab a book and enjoy a few minutes of quiet time if you don’t have books in your home.
7. Make time for reading. Turn off the TV, limit the computer. Have a “20 minute read-a-thon.” Have a fun reading contest; whoever reads the most pages in a set time wins a fun prize (maybe a trip to a bookstore!) There is reading contests through businesses were the child can earn a free prize. Pizza Hut offers a free personal pan pizza, Dairy Queen, a free ice cream cone. Ask your local businesses about the contests they run or just stick with creating your own.
8. Have your child create their own book. They can print the story, illustrate it. Have a write up about the author. Laminate it, make a special cover. Share the books at the dinner table.
9. Teach your child to respect books. Books are our friends, we need to show the child not to mark on the pages nor tear them. Books aren’t meant to be thrown on the floor; there is a correct way to put a book on the book shelf. That way the book will last longer and be able to be read later by others.
10. Stress breaker! After an afternoon of reading stories of long, long ago in far, far away lands with your child. Who couldn’t love an adventure that would take you away from the stress for both you and your child?