Raising Avid Readers

books.jpgI’m thrilled to introduce new contributing writer Sheri, an impassioned educator and single mom to a wonderful son. Today, Sheri shares tips for raising avid readers:

In an age where technology is sprouting faster than the human eye can track it on Google, there’s no doubt that we’re raising a generation of tech savvy kids. But as exciting as these developments are, I’ve also seen a troubling trend regarding reading for fun, enjoyment, and relaxation: kids are growing up lacking an intrinsic love of books and reading.
The fantastic news is that there are many tangible ways to create, foster, and nurture avid readers. For kids to grow into avid readers, they must be given many opportunities to read - as much as possible and in a variety of ways. They must grow to appreciate all that reading offers. They must get excited about reading. Believe it or not, this is truly possible despite hectic schedules, and is one of the best gifts you can give your child. This is the gift that will benefit them in school and in life and is something they cannot outgrow as fads change. Books keep on giving!

Here are some tips from the perspective of an educator and mother of an avid reader. Try one or try them all. That’s the beauty of it; they all create a priority of reading for pleasure!

  • Read to your child, often and with enthusiasm. Who doesn’t get enthused by Dr. Seuss’s nonsense rhymes? Show your enjoyment of every book you share.

  • Talk about what you liked or didn’t like. As you read, share your likes or dislikes about what you are reading. This will encourage your child to share their thoughts and will enhance their comprehension.

  • Allow your child to see you reading for enjoyment. Modeling reading for enjoyment is great for your kid and for you! Take a break and just lie on the couch and read. (You may have a hard time putting the books away!)

  • Go to the local library. Grab your library card (or sign up for one if you don’t already have one) then check out an armful of books at a time. This will guarantee an afternoon of reading enthusiasm!

  • Incorporate reading time into your routine. Maintain reading time as important and a part of the day where everything else has to wait. This includes work, laundry, and cleaning up the dinner dishes.

  • Spend time in a bookstore just exploring the aisles. Yes, this may end up costing you a bit, but books are worth it and last longer than most toys do.

  • Foster independence and choice. Encourage your child to choose books they are interested in and share their interest by following their lead. Do not concern yourself with the level of the book. First graders do not need to be able to read Harry Potter but should be able to choose a book they love.

  • Read, read, read! It really is that easy! What are you waiting for? Drop everything and just read!

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