If reading is fundamental, then why the heck is it one of the most frustrating and difficult things for parents to engage their children in? UGH!! Seriously, parents everywhere are having the “put that down and pick up a book” battle. Gizmos of all sorts have stolen the time that once was occupied by magazines and/or a great novel (and if really lucky, perhaps a newspaper). My son, an avid reader – which sprung out of nowhere one day several years ago… has been sucked into the Netflix unending streaming of commercial free episodes of almost everything. What ever happened to watching ONE episode a week and flipping thru magazines during commercials?
Here are twelve suggestions to help the kiddos engage in reading. Try a few and let us know how they go, or perhaps leave us a suggestion or two of your own.
1. Play game directly related to a story book. (Ex: Green Eggs and Ham has several games and puzzles, Fancy Nancy Game, etc) Follow up by reading the book another night and remembering the game play fun. Tie the two experiences together.
2. Start the weekend with a book. If your child is slow to wake in the morning, take advantage with Saturday morning early story time, then breakfast, dressing, etc. Makes for excellent cuddle time as you ease into your day together.
3. Keep books everywhere… children recipe books in the kitchen, easy-readers in the bathroom & bedside with picture books at coffee tables.
4. Find small pockets of time for reading… this includes picture books and reading the captions. Five or ten minutes between activities adds up over a day… over a week.
5. Read to your children in the tub. If your kids are anything like mine, staying in the tub til lips are blue, take advantage and read while they play, soak and bathe.
6. Encourage reading through song. (Ex: The Cat’s Pajamas album Reading Rocks has two specifically good songs for this – “I’m A Bookworm” and “Read To Me”)
7. Make time for your own reading – yes this works as you set an example. You can claim a “reading hour” or play soft music to further encourage the environment.
8. Keep books accessible for little ones – sturdy books in a play area, while treasured family favorites reside on a book shelf until shared together.
9. Register each child for their OWN library card. Teach them the rules of the library but also care for books.
10. Dress up as characters. Go all out with costumes or keep it simple with hats and accessories.
11. Act out favorite parts. Use different voices and props as you read aloud. For those really serious – combine 10 & 11 and make your own movie with dressing up and acting out the story.
12. Puppets are an effective way to tell a story. (Here I’m using CuddleUppets Green Crocodile to tell the story of Five Little Monkeys Sitting In A Tree)