Thursday, 12 May 2011

Reading To Children

another brilliant post from her

Reading To Children

You probably already guessed that from my rather obvious title though, right? One thing that I am often asked by parents is “How do I get my kid to enjoy reading?” The simple answer is show them how.

There is a BRILLIANT piece of writing by Australian children’s author Mem Fox about how to inspire a love of reading and I urge you to read it.

These are some ways to inspire children to love books and reading:

  1. Love books yourself- children model their parents behaviour. If your child sees you reading books, enjoying books, buying books and sharing books, they will want to do the same thing.
  2. Fill your house with books and reading material- the saddest thing a teacher can hear from a student is that they don’t own any books. I am probably one of those boring people who always gives their friends’ babies books as presents but for a child to have their own library from the youngest age is SO important.
  3. Allocate daily reading time- whether it be an hour, 20 mins or 5 mins. 5 minutes a day is better than nothing at all.
  4. Go to the library and borrow books on a weekly basis.
  5. Allow them to borrow weekly from their school library by making sure they have their library bag on library day. School librarians are sticklers for not allowing borrowing without a bag.
  6. Discuss their favourite books and book characters- talk about books with your kids so that they are immersed in a book rich life.
  7. Draw and paint their favourite books- children learn to draw before reading and writing and it’s instinctively natural for them to want to create through drawing.
  8. Write stories together about characters in their favourite books- retell the story, change the ending, write a new complication (problem), make up back stories for the characters.
  9. Take photos of them reading and stick them on the fridge with “Darcy is reading” or “Darcy is a reader” written underneath- ha! I knew I’d get photography in there somehow.
  10. Call your children “readers” even if they are aged 3 and just turning the pages. It doesn’t matter that they aren’t physically reading the words- they are still “readers”.

Do all of this from birth. Books and reading need to be a part of a child’s life long before they get to school. Worrying about a child not being interested in books in Grade 1 or 2 is too late. They need a book rich life from birth.

I hope this list is helpful to some of you Mums and Dads out there. I’d love to know what some of your strategies are for inspiring kids to love books. I know there are lots of other ways and would love to hear your thoughts on this topic.

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