Read Aloud: Raising Lifelong Readers
Feb. 27, 2017
Across the country, there is a disturbing trend that is cropping up amongst our nation’s teenagers and young adults: many of them don’t like to read. What was once (and still should is for many) considered an entertaining and relaxing way to spend an afternoon or evening, is now “boring”, losing out to video games, TV, viral YouTube videos, video games, or the allure of text messaging and excessive social drama.
The research on the topic is clear: according to The National Education Association, kids who enjoy reading are more likely to be successful in school.So how can we as parents nurture a deep love and appreciate for reading at an early age? The following tips will help you to foster an early love for literacy to create life-long readers.
Read what they know and love
There’s a reason “the classics” are classics. Fairy tales for kids are a time-honored tradition, enchanting children for generations. Fairy tales are so prominent and loved amongst kids that even companies like Disney make their own versions of the stories that take the tales to a whole different level, marketing non-stop products that kids love.
If you have a little girl who loves Tangled, find a Rapunzel bedtime story online that will delight your little princess with yet another rendition of a favorite classic. It’s easy to find interactive storybooks online and on apps without having to buy a huge book of fairy tales. Stick with the stories that kids have loved for generations, and find new engaging ways to present those tales.
Make reading part of their everyday routine
As you may already know, bedtime stories for toddlers should be a hallmark of any child’s bedtime routine. Bedtime stories allow kids to make a connection between relaxation and reading, which will likely stick with your child as they grow up. Taking this further, try to build a time in your busy schedule for reading outside of the usual bedtime story.
Make a goal to read a new story at some point each day or week, whichever fits your family’s hectic schedule. Encourage your child to look forward to this set time by offering a schedule for how often they can pick out a new story or book to purchase. By giving an incentive for reading, your child will get excited about choosing new books to read.
Use technology to engage your child
Cracking open a new book is great. If you’re like a lot of people, you might enjoy that “new book” smell, or the way the paper feels between your fingers as you turn the pages. Even so, there’s nothing wrong with eBooks or apps that allow your child to read and listen to stories right on the screen.
In fact, offering audio books to your child is yet another way for your child to engage with their books, and even offers an opportunity for intervention if your child is struggling with reading. With so many apps and opportunities for reading online and electronically, there’s many reasons why eBooks and apps can enhance your child’s reading routine. Use reading worksheets or coloring pages to invogorate kids with the process of storytelling.
Make reading a family value
Ensure that your child knows how much your family values reading. Do this by modeling reading yourself. Don’t be afraid to let your child catch you reading the day’s news, a good book, or favorite magazine. Read yourself and show your child the ways in which reading enhances your life.
Actions speak louder than words, and if your child sees you actively enjoying reading, they will grow up realizing the importance of reading, and appreciating the way in which reading effects their lives.
There's nothing wrong if they don't like traditional stories
Even with the most interesting of stories, some kids may still find reading boring if what they’re reading doesn’t interest them. Sometimes some kids, especially boys, may want to read a different type of text as they get older. Offer your child different types of texts to find out what they might enjoy.
Though comic books might get a negative rap sometimes, comics or graphic novels often inspire kid who don’t like traditional stories. Informational texts might help boys glean practical uses from reading that actually helps teach them how to do something they’re interested in. As kids get older, introduce and encourage more variety, and their love for reading will blossom.
There’s no doubt that if we take the necessary steps, our children can avoid the fate of turning into just another kid who doesn’t like to read. Use the above tips to foster a love for reading that will encourage your little learners to bud into lifelong readers.