Updated: Jan 27, 2020
Child literacy establishes useful learning skills, but more importantly, it teaches kids to use reading and writing to explore, think, feel, communicate, connect and understand different perspectives. Our Book of the Month Blog highlights books for parents and kids that will encourage everyone to add reading to the family regime!
We've complied some cool ways to get reading to be a more regular activity for you and your family:
Be A Role Model
Parents aren't perfect - your kids don't expect you to be either. But, your kids will still look to you for an example. Your example can set the tone for the way your kids see the world. You are your child's first teacher and reading can be an excellent way to 'teach' without actually teaching. Reading is also beneficial in a variety of ways: helps calm down the mind to prepare for sleep, inspires creativity, provides a 'healthy' escape and opens the mind to new perspectives. Be a role model for your family by making a commitment to reading. The old saying "monkey see, monkey do" definitely applies here.
Provide the materials.
It's hard to get kids to be excited about reading then there is nothing to read. Set aside $20 a month to get your child a new book. Treat the book as a reward for the previous month and get your kids excited about new book day. Simply adding materials to your home can open the door to so many opportunities for your kids to explore reading. At Insight, you could say we are a bit 'old school' - we encourage you to get print materials rather than digital ones! There is something magical about flipping through a book you just can't put down. While e-books are more convenient, they do eliminate some of that magic. But, if you or your family is more 'hip-with-the-times', getting any type of reading materials in front of your kids is beneficial.
Children who struggle with reading will often try to avoid participating in activities involving reading out of fear. The fear of embarrassment, the fear of inadequacy - they can be powerful de-motivators. When you are able to step in and guide your child through tough paragraphs, you will help build a bond of trust and boost their confidence. If they know you believe in them, they can be pushed to believe in themselves.
Children need stability, consistency, and support. Growing up is already very confusing in itself. You don't know who you are yet, what you want or like, you are still trying to discern good and bad, love and lust, happiness and envy! Needless to say, if you want to improve the environment for your kids at home, start by implementing a family reading hour. No one expects you to be a perfect parent - but you can choose to be an active parent. Establishing a daily or weekly family reading hour will provide a regular set of time put aside for family and creative exploration. After a long day of work or a tough day at school, a reading hour - excluding electronics unless to play soft background music - can be the perfect way to decompress, relax your mind and teach your kids to incorporate healthy habits.
This does not have to be every time! You can decide when and how you would like to orchestrate a reading hour where you or your kids read aloud to the family. For children who seem to struggle with reading or English composition in school, this can be a great way to practice their skills in a safe environment without the pressure of their peers weighing over them. The occasional verbal reading hour will help build your child's confidence with reading and public speaking. Plus, the pride you will get from watching your baby confidently read - well you will see for yourself.
Set The Vibe
The vibe is everything. Think comfort, warmth and home when choosing an area in your home to host family reading hour. It can be in your children's bedroom with everyone sprawled out where they please, your back patio with candles and the soft hum of the night to set the tone for the evening; it could be in your common area with everyone having their own cup of tea or hot cocoa while holiday music lightly fills the room. If you and your family feel that they have a comfortable place to spend this time, all of you will be far more likely to continue to keep it as a priority to you.
No set of siblings can go without the occasional fight - it happens. But, to counter that, establishing a family reading time is a great opportunity to help reunite the bond between siblings. Have your oldest child read to the family for one night, then your next one another night. Make sure that you enforce a 'respect for reading' rule where kids respect the person who is reading as they go. This creates a safe space for the kids to dim the focus of a rivalry and open their imagination through the world of literature.
... and what about when you get the inevideible push back?
"Reading is hard."
"Reading is boring."
You will! Kids resist change until it feels normal. A shift, no matter how small, is an imbalance for them and so it is natural to get some resistance. However, the long term benefits of creating this healthy habit into your family regime will nurture your connection to each other, broaden your imagination and vocabulary, offer a safe stable outlet for everyone in your home.
We'd love to hear stories about how your family likes or dislikes reading hour! Please comment below and thanks, enjoy!