Reading is a critical component of childhood. Read Across America Day is coming up on March 2. Observed on Dr. Seuss’ birthday, this day serves to emphasize and encourage children’s literacy. Strong literacy skills are the predictors of much success later in life.
But, of course, reading isn’t reserved for just one day! Daily reading is essential for children and their development. Even though its importance is pretty well-known, reading can sometimes seem like one more thing on the daily to do list, am I right? Here are a few tips I’ve picked up along the way to help you incorporate reading into your everyday life!
Read to and with your child
It’s never too early to start reading to your child! Start with simple board books during babyhood, interactive books for toddlers (but let’s be honest, all ages love these!), picture books and chapter books as the kiddos get older. In the younger years, follow your child’s lead when reading. Most likely, they’ll want to turn pages over and over, skip pages and be done faster than you intend. But the point is that they are being exposed to books and reading, which will be a benefit to them throughout their life.
Make books accessible
It is important that children have easy access to books in their home. Having books set up around multiple areas in your home increases the chances that reading will happen! A bookshelf in the playroom, a few books on a nightstand, library books in a basket in the family room. Easy access to books increases the likelihood that they will be picked up and read. The more there are, chances are they will get be opened! The photo below is a little setup I walked into one day in my son’s room:
Be an example of a reader
Our children are sponges. They observe the world around them and imitate what they see and hear! Chances are, if they see you being an example of a reader, they will be more likely to pick up a book. Be aware of how often you are reading on your phone. I enjoy reading and listening to books on my phone; however, when I’m reading on my phone or a tablet, my kids just see me looking at a screen. This isn’t to say to abandon the screens, but make an effort to pick up a book every now and then.
Find books that interest your child
When young kids find a book they love, you will read it over and over again. And then you’ll read it some more. As children get older, they tend to get a little pickier with the books they choose to read. Help them find books that fit their interests. It’s not so much about the topic, but the fact that they are reading. The more they read, the more they will continue to want to pick up a book.
Talk about what you are reading
As you read, ask questions and make comments with your child. Talk about the characters, what they are saying and how they are acting. Often times, books can help introduce topics that are important to bring up with our children. Finally, taking time to talk about what you read not only opens the door for more conversation, it also helps you to know if your child is understanding what they are reading.
And because I always love new book ideas, here are some titles my kids have loved:
The Circus Ship by Chris VanDusen
The Napping House by Audrey Wood
Please, Mr. Panda by Steve Antony
Toot & Puddle by Holly Hobbie
Go Away, Big Green Monster! by Ed Emberley