Our kids’ reading level and enjoyment of reading can be a hot button topic. And there could never be an article that could answer every individual situation. While some of our kids will be natural readers, others will show less interest, and others will struggle. Your child may end up anywhere on this spectrum. Even so, there are some basics to getting our kids started in reading. There are some ways to encourage a love of reading despite the level of ability. You can help your children to enjoy reading.
Be an example
The starting point for most parenting dilemmas is our own example. If we value reading, our kids will be more likely to value reading. Your kids will pick up a book if they see you holding a book. This is how a lot of behavior works.
So if you want your child to enjoy reading, it might be time for you to pick up a book. My own kids have enjoyed reading on different levels through the years. Some really enjoy it, some need to be convinced, and one really struggles. I have noticed lately, though, that there is just less reading happening in our house. In thinking about it, I realized that I’ve been on my phone more frequently and not reading books. So I started picking up a book instead, even if I didn’t feel like it, when we were all sitting around the living room.
Sure enough, even my big kids were influenced by example. They each started to pick up a book when they sat down, like they used to. Even my struggler will find books she can enjoy and read them. Our example really does help our children to enjoy reading.
Make books available
Kids have lots of fun exploring the children’s section of the library. And with free books, a huge selection, and even some fun activity areas, it’s an easy win for us parents. It’s a really easy way to have books available for your kids to read. New books every week or two make it even more enticing for your kids. And if they are the ones choosing the books, they are more likely to get them out and look at them.
This works for kids who are too young to read too. They will still enjoy looking through the picture books. If you can carve out time to read the books to them, they will learn the stories. Then they will think through the stories as they look at the pictures themselves. Getting little ones to handle books regularly will encourage them to learn to read and to keep reading. It’s a great way to help your children enjoy reading.
You knew this one was coming, right? Reading aloud to our kids is one of the key things we can do to develop their minds and begin their joy of reading. And if we have a read aloud habit in our homes, we have a built-in help for our strugglers. Kids with reading disabilities can listen to stories without struggle, and still gain the benefits that stories provide. Check out our post here about the benefits of stories for our kids.
Reading aloud builds our children’s vocabulary, it expands their imaginations, and it grows our relationships with them. When you all read a book together, you have fun situations to talk about, silly quotes to laugh over, and even some inside jokes based on the book you read. Reading aloud to them will help our children to enjoy reading. And it will include our kids who struggle more with reading.
Resources for you
At Signing Time, we often talk about how signing can help with early literacy. And so we provide resources for you to use in teaching your little ones to sign. Our biggest free resource is our Signing Time Dictionary. It’s full of words that you likely use with your kids day by day. Each word has a demonstration for the sign as well as a description of the movements for the sign. Learning a few signs from the Signing Time Dictionary is a good way to get started in signing. And the benefits go beyond early literacy. Signing has been shown to help children with dyslexia, language impairments, Down Syndrome, and Autism Spectrum disorders. You can see some of the research here.
Then there are our shows on My Signing Time. Baby Signing Time helps our really young children to learn to express themselves, and this saves us from tantrums and frustration. Classic Signing Time teaches signs for all kinds of life situations. Our most recent show is TreeSchoolers: The Legends of Phonetica, and it’s all about learning the letter sounds. And we have even more fun and educational programming at My Signing Time. You can check it out in our Watch Free section or try it out with a 14-day free trial right here.