Books stir up excitement in children. Walking through the door to a story hour inspires a happy giggle and the running of little feet towards the individual holding an opened book! The love of reading is caught, not taught! We, as parents, invest in collecting and sharing stories of beloved and new fictional characters from birth through adulthood. Let’s take a look at a number of strategies to spark excitement about the life skill of reading!
Encourage Daily Reading: Do you recall the stories of your childhood? Beloved fictional friends arrived at an early age, later to be shared with daughters, sons, and grandchildren! Make it a habit routinely to read to your child! Ask your local librarian, teachers, and friends for recommendations!
Create a Book-Nook: Crawling toddlers will lie on the floor behind a chair and hold a selected book with hands and lap. It’s a time of discovery to see captivating pictures and turn pages. Books can be second-hand, torn, or taped together. The condition is irrelevant, compared to the excitement of each page. As children grow older, expand the reading nook, perhaps into a tent or corner of a playroom. Permit the imagination to follow familiar and new fictional friends along intriguing roads of decision!
Promote Self-Reading: Many Dr. Seuss books lend themselves to a parent pointing to, and a child accepting, the cues and reading aloud. Go Dog Go is a prime example. Particular books, emphasized by a few words and descriptive illustrations, allow the child to feel confident in reading each page successfully! Even wordless picture books allow you to ask:
- What is happening so far? (Comprehension)
- What makes you believe it? (Inferring)
- What do you think will happen next? (Predicting)
Teach Games Through Books: Preschool children will need to identify letters in sight words in the text; therefore, talk about titles and words in a story. Ask your child, “Do you see the letter ‘A’ in the first word? Okay, point to it!” Your child will soon not go anywhere without a book in hand!
Introduce High-Interest Series: By the age of five, boys and girls will thoroughly enjoy The Mercy Watson series by Kate DiCamillo. Expect your child to read the book independently after one year. This particular series introduces the setting, character development, the problem, and the solution, which will help introduce sequencing events and problem solving. By age six, introduce chapter books, such as The Magic Treehouse and Stink series.
Jim Trelease, children’s author, writes, “Reading the same book multiple times can help children develop language skills and improve reading comprehension. If you tire from reading the same book, try reading it in a different voice.”
Audiobooks for Kids: Parents spend a lot of time driving kids to and from destinations. Why not utilize that time with a great book? Remember, children should not go two years above the intended age level. Online sites allow you to buy or borrow books. Contact the librarian at your local library to establish an online account. Additionally, utilize the parenting website “Common Sense Media” to assess book titles and determine if appropriate for your child. In all children’s media sources, including movies and games, parents and children post helpful reviews!
Never Stop Reading Together: By the fourth and fifth grade, boys and girls will want to explore more challenging themes and worlds. From The Chronicles of Narnia to The Gryphon Chronicles, Percy Jackson, and The Five Kingdoms series, children can delve into great stories by sharing reading responsibilities with you, or listening to the audiobooks. Search for sensitive topics or important themes that can help you discuss the value of friendships, feelings of infatuation, or the handling of bullies and other problems. Influential series, such as A Tale of Magic by Chris Colfer and The Wizards of Once by Cressida Cowell, will transform your child’s understanding of truth, friendship, and acceptance of self.
Vocabulary: “Onomatopoeia” is an entertaining word to say and apply in context. Children love to think of words that use the sound they describe, such as “oops” and “hum.” Each page of the book below has multiple ways to introduce the language, from defining a word to talking about its origins. Seven-to-nine-year-olds would love journeying with Milo to the castles of words and numbers in Norton Juster’s The Phantom Tollbooth!