How to raise kids who prefer reading to screentime
Want your kids to have a true passion for reading? Learn how here!
Nowadays, kids are generally overstimulated. Think about it: if you tell them, "No more TV," they can just pick up an iPad, tablet, video game, or cell phone and mindlessly fiddle with that.
There are simply too many ways for kids to be entertained these days, and that's not necessarily a huge problem, but it can greatly affect how much your kid enjoys simpler activities like reading.
Reading is never going to wow kids as much as the newest, most colorful and spectacular iPhone game, but it's far more important. It's the foundation to your child's academic success and you should be doing everything you can to make sure your kids enjoy reading! Even better, you should be doing everything in your power to make sure they prefer reading over screentime.
Surprisingly...yes! It just takes a bit of elbow grease, encouragement, and inspiration from parents!
According to Julie Rodriguez (Vice President of Literary Services for Reading is Fundamental), there are a handful of steps that parents can implement in order to get their kids on board with reading regularly!
Let's take a look at her expert advice:
Make reading a habit
If you make reading a habit, then sooner or later, they'll begin to like it. Try reading to your kids as much as often, possibly as often as 5 to 7 times a week. This may seem like a lot, but you can alternate with your partner to ensure that your kid is being read to (or practicing reading) as often as possible.
Don't make this habit mundane or boring for them either, try making reading fun by adding in silly voices or props to engage them. Remember, kids these days are harder to entertain so you have to make reading something memorable and fun so they'll want to do it regularly with a smile on their face.
Want your child to be excited about reading? Find out how! Click next and read on...
Read them familiar books
What I mean to say, and this may be hard to hear, is that you should encourage reading the same book over, and over, and over again. While that may not sound so enticing to you, it's fun for your kids. By doing this, you're not just familiarizing them with the story, you're familiarizing them with words and the context of those words.
As Rodriguez suggests, "They just need to hear it over and over again, point to the word, and have that access. It’s OK to read the same book 5,000 times."
Sounds dull and monotonous, sure, but it can help to boost your kid's vocabulary at young age. Rodriguez says that frequently rereading the same books to her kids helped them to develop better reading skills at the age of 3.
If you're going to abide by the first two guidelines, you might as well make sure that what you're reading to your kids is of good taste and quality. Do some research and find out what stories are best. This could mean finding stories about particular topics that cater to their likes. Or, you could find books that have strong vocabulary, or moral values that you want them to learn.
In any case, make sure that the books you and your kids are reading are winners and not just some random book you picked because it "looked nice". Pick ones that you know are recommended, or that your kids will love.
Make activities out of the books you read together
While it might be helpful with younger kids to implement fun or engaging ways to tell the story (i.e. props or silly voices), Rodriguez also suggests that you make activities of the books you read. Take elements from the book and incorporate them into your daily routines. Or, make a fun lesson plan around the book so your kids can make the most of each and every book.
Rodriguez turned the book, A Balloon for Isabel (about a forlorn porcupine who can’t get a balloon like the other kids because she’ll pop it, so Isabel solves the problem by putting gumdrops on her quills), into a lesson plan for her kids. She made fun science experiments with balloons and her kids loved it! Get creative parents, and foster your kids love for reading.
Show them you like to read
Kids are impressionable and often act based on what they observe. If your kids see that you love to read, they may follow by example. Make sure you always have a smile on your face while reading to your younger kids. When they are a bit older, try making sure that they see you reading often and tell them that it's something you enjoy doing. Never shy away from telling the benefits of reading either. Let them know of its importance to their education, and why you like it so much.
Incorporate the classics
While you needn't bring out anything as adult or intellectual as Dostoyevsky or Kafka, you may want to consider incorporating Young Adult classics into their library. Don't force them to read these each and every reading session, but make sure they are being stimulated by well written, informative literary classics every so often. This will deepen their general knowledge of literature, and will definitely prepare them for later lessons in academics.
If you have any insights, questions or comments regarding the topic, please share them with us!