Developing strong reading habits in children takes time and effort. However, the good news is that it is never too early or too late to begin. Since strong reading skills are a key factor in overall academic success, developing reading habits which promote a lifelong love of reading is essential. These 3 simple strategies will help get your children hooked on books.
1. Develop a Daily Reading Routine: Reading on a daily basis should become as routine as brushing your teeth before bedtime. It is recommended that elementary school children read for pleasure at least 20 minutes per day. Naturally, younger children may read for shorter periods of time, and avid readers may continue for longer periods of time if they wish! With children's busy schedules, it can be a challenge to carve out 20 minutes of down-time for quiet reading, but it is should be a priority. Reading for pleasure on a daily basis can improve fluency and nurture a love of reading. The trick is in finding the best time of day which fits into your child and family's schedule. Every child is different, so experiment with reading 20 minutes before bedtime, after school or even before school for those early risers. Likewise, allow children to experiment with finding a quiet, comfortable spot for reading.
Younger children (non-readers) can be read to for shorter periods of time. Depending upon their age and interest level, parents can gradually increase the amount of time they read with their children. Don't be afraid to start reading to children early on. Not only does reading books together promote language skills and vocabulary development, but you'll find that it is an extremely enjoyable experience you'll both treasure. Developing a family reading routine from the start paves the way for more mature, independent readers. Eventually, children will look forward to that special time of the day when they can escape into a good book.
2. Select Great Literature: Now that you have developed a reading routine, how can you encourage a true love of reading? The secret to making reading more enjoyable is to pick great children's literature. Many children are turned off to reading because they are simply reading the wrong types of books.
- Seek out award-winning books which have been chosen for both their quality and appeal. Great stories peak children's interest levels.
- Search for popular children's authors. Their books are kid-tested and kid-approved so you can't go wrong.
- Try out popular children's series. If your child enjoys the first book of the series, there are several more to follow.
- Follow your child's interests and hobbies. Books are more meaningful when children feel a personal connection.
- Experiment with different genres. Vary choices to include fiction, non-fiction, mysteries, graphic novels and much more.
- Invest in an age appropriate and interesting home library. Great books should be readily available whenever they wish to read.
3. Monitor Habits with a Reading Log: Consistency is the key to success when using a reading routine. Improved habits are developed over a period of time so one of the most important factors is "following through" on daily reading. You may need a simple system of accountability to keep your independent readers on track. Some schools use a daily reading log on which students record the date, the title of their book, and minutes read for each day of the week. Parents are required to review and sign their log each night. Reading for 20 minutes is simply part of their daily homework. Parents can create their own simple reading log for use at home. Have your child record the date, title and minutes read on a sheet of paper each night. Keep their log posted on the frig so you can monitor their progress easily. Your daily reading log serves as a visible reminder to keep on your child reading each day.
It is more challenging to keep a reading log at home since it is not perceived as "required homework." Incentives sometimes makes this easier. Tally reading minutes for the week or month. Start by setting goals of a certain number of minutes per day/per week, and use simple rewards. Gradually increase the amount of minutes needed to achieve rewards. Rewards can be as simple as staying up a little later, extra computer time, a special snack… you decide. Try to make keeping a reading log as enjoyable as possible, since reading for pleasure should not be perceived as a chore.
It is easy to encourage reading skills with these great/award winning books which are sure to become instant favorites in your home! Check out this outstanding selection of recommended reading.
Little Ones Great/Award-Winning Children's Books
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