That is my firm belief and I support and promote it every single day in every instance. From before birth, I read to my children. They had books as infants and have always been allowed to read whatever age appropriate book they want, no matter where they are. During the summer, their love of books really shows as they curl up with a stack, a glass of Tampico and laze the afternoon away in a fantasy land with good friends that live between the pages.
During the school year, the kids get plenty of reading time. But during the summer, holidays and other times off school, they may not get the concentrated lessons that keep them reading, comprehending and learning like they should. So I try to incorporate reading into everyday activities thus promoting their love for literature and their continued education.
Have Books in the Car
Whether you are going to the grocery store or to Grandma's House, having books in the car can only add to the adventure. Road trips, especially, can be amazing for furthering a child's reading skills. In fact, as we are already starting to plan for Thanksgiving and Christmas family visits, I am thinking ahead to how to keep the kids happy on the road. Books are always my number one go to. Sure, they have gaming systems and tablets and electronics to play with, but those can be hard to keep charged, annoying to those around us and a mind melt after so much time. Books, however, are not loud, never need batteries and the girls can change the action just by picking up another.
Create a Reading Space in Your Home
Another thing that can encourage kids to read is to have a library in your home. I am not talking about a whole room, though I am lucky to have that, but a nook or a window seat that can be transformed into a comfortable, quiet place for kids to sit and read any time they want. All you need is a shelving system, a comfy fuzzy chair and a quiet understanding that the kids can use it as a place to escape whenever they want to.
Lead by Example
Another great way I have found to incorporate reading into our lives easily is to escape with my kids to the library. Our community college has a huge library that is dedicated to the children in the community. They can go and see puppet shows, play with games and computers and more. But while we are there, they always want to check out books and sit and read. I promote their love by sitting and reading, as well! Kids emulate the parent more than anyone, so seeing mom with her nose in a book is only a good thing for kids. When at bookstores and libraries, don’t forget to peruse the “What’s New” and “Best Seller” tables for guaranteed good reads for you and your children!
Never Use Reading as a Punishment
I am blessed that in this house, reading is considered a fun activity, like playing. My children have access to any book they want in their library, the car, the playroom and more. I never use taking away reading as a punishment and find that when they do go to their rooms, their tantrums are cut short by the interest in reading a book they love so much.
On the flip side, I never force my kids to read as punishment. If I feel they are not reading enough, I sit with them and read a book to them. Often, they take it from me part way through and finish it themselves. But sitting a child down and having them read when they are in trouble does nothing for comprehension and teaches them that reading is related to getting in trouble!
As a child, I read constantly. The characters were my friends, the serial books my latest soap opera and the crack of the spine of a new book my favorite sound. By allowing kids to have constant access to the adventures they need and love, you can help build their educational base, confidence in their ability and their imagination!