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A deep-rooted love of reading begins in early childhood. The fastest and most effective route to helping children fall in love with reading is creating a positive family attitude towards books. Making books a prominent feature in your home will ensure your child develops a healthy appreciation for literature. The first place to start is with making sure you read together regularly as a family.
Reading aloud to your family puts you in control and offers the perfect opportunity to make reading a positive experience for your child. Use the 6 tips below to give your child the most memorable and enjoyable experiences with books whilst helping them to develop a love of reading!
1. Show Them The True Value of Reading!
Let’s start with the most important – “Lead by Example!”
I have no idea who was the first person to coin that term but it’s true for so many things in life! It is certainly true when it comes to reading!
To enjoy something, a person needs to perceive some value in it! Do you want your child to value reading? Then you too must show that reading books is something that you enjoy. Allow your child to witness you reading books that make you happy, excited and enthusiastic. Let your child see you read, talk about what you’re reading and wear your personal enthusiasm for books on the outside! Don’t keep it bottled up!
2. Slow Down and Add Some Flare!
Remember that school assembly or work conference where the person at the front seemed to talk so fast you couldn’t keep up? A voice so monotonous you’d find your mind drifting to something outside of the room?
Now imagine that it is your child listening to you! You’re reading aloud so quickly that they can’t compute 50% of what you’re saying and so monotonously, that they checked out after the first paragraph! Not exactly the results you were looking for, ey!?
If you want your child to enjoy the reading experience you need to slow down so that they have time to build in their mind, the colorful pictures and scenes the author intended! Also, don’t be afraid to add a little bit of emphasis, character, and variation to your tone as you’re reading. It will keep your child engaged and bring the words from inside those pages, to life!
3. Bring The Stories Into Reality
Learning through literature is a great way to enhance your homeschool and your child’s learning! Follow up your family read alouds with themed crafts, activities and field trips related to the books you’ve been reading. Bringing books into the real-world using hands-on activities, will extend the positive experience of reading, into your child’s learning and everyday life!
4. Let Their Interests Be Your Guide
You’ve heard about this whole child-led education thing, right?
Well even if it’s not the ideal homeschool style for your family, you should consider applying its principles to reading. Pick books with a central theme based on one of your child’s current interests. They’ll enjoy reading more when it is about something they love!
Trains, soft toys, popcorn, or waffles. Whatever your child’s favorite things may be, also make sure you include some of them in your family read alouds! Have the soft toy read the story, let Spiderman turn the pages or allow your child to indulge in their favorite snack.
Creating a connection between something they enjoy, and time spent reading books will generate a positive association! Your child will soon begin to view reading as something fun and enjoyable.
5. Book Budgets & Voucher Gifts
Find me one child who doesn’t like being given the freedom to buy anything they would like in a shop!
One way to get your child excited about books is to gift them book store vouchers! Let’s them spend some time wandering through the rows of bookshelves to choose whatever they may be interested in! Even if they wander out of the children’s sections let them be! You never know what they might find that sparks their interest in reading!
Of course, you’ll want to make sure the reading material isn’t inappropriate in any way but try not to restrict your kid too much. It’s the freedom of choice and the control over what they read, that will inspire them!
It needn’t be expensive! You can even create your own vouchers or give your child a book budget that can be spent in second-hand bookstores or online!
6. Add A Good Ole Story Time Corner to You Homes!
There was once a time when home libraries were the norm. Sometimes they were just bookshelves in the main living areas, much akin to what we see in many homes today. In other homes there were whole rooms dedicated to reading. Today most homes have at least one bookshelf to speak of, a lot of Kindergartens have a story corner, schools have libraries, and many homeschool families have dedicated reading spaces set up at home or make regular use of their local libraries.
This brings us back to the first tip; allowing our children to see the value the family places on books and reading. There are a few other benefits to having a reading nook too!
Book corners in the home provide your child with a dedicated place for reading. Depending upon the setup, reading corners can be bright and colorful, attracting the attention of small readers or mellow and calm to enable older children to find some peace and a slower pace away from their busy days. Children know that when they enter that zone, they are there to read!
A book corner should be a cozy, a well-lit area surrounded by inspiring, informative and interesting looking books. When a reading corner becomes the hot spot for family read alouds, it also becomes a place of comfort. Children know that when they enter the reading corner with their parents; they will get to cuddle up with mum or dad (yes, older children too) and enjoy your full attention without distractions! They’ll treasure that time with you and they will enjoy the stories you share with one another.
All of these positive experiences with books, reading and family time, will add up over the days, weeks, months and even years, contributing to your child’s lifelong love of reading!
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Amber is the author of www.onehundredandonepursuits.com. She currently homeschools her two beautiful little boys in Egypt. There are two things she is passionate about: homeschooling and books! Her family follows an eclectic, interest-led approach to homeschool. Their days are filled with classic literature, family read aloud, experiments, field trips, hobbies and pursuing other subjects that spark their curiosity. Amber believes that all children deserve a personalized education. Her aim is to inspire, encourage and help other parents to overcome some of the challenges that homeschooling presents us with. You can follow Amber on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.