I have been a life long reader. Addicted to ALL things books. My parents could get me to do anything by promising a trip to the library or even better, the bookstore! It started by reading Dr. Seuss by a nightlight instead of going to bed, and it’s graduated to finishing novels under the covers long after I should be sleeping! Reading is such a wonderful escape and such a great skill to hone in our kids. In honor of my amazing friend, Rebecca Ansari, and her debut novel “The Missing Piece of Charlie O’Reilly”, let’s talk about raising readers. (And enjoy the fun photos of kids reading, provided to me by other mamas passionate about Raising Readers!) Only interested in the Giveaway? Fair enough-scroll to the bottom and enter to win (but beware: you’re missing out on a lot of great information)! Without further ado, keep reading for the Friday Five: Raising Readers!
I polled MANY people about their own Tips and Tricks for Raising Readers. There were several themes that came up repeatedly! So here are the Friday Five for Raising Readers!
1. Start them early. Even before reading, literacy starts with words. Talk to your newborn, your toddler, your preschooler, your tween, your teen. Converse with them even if they don’t understand what you are saying. Read to them daily just as long as they will let you. Chapter books are a perfect way to spend some time together and introduce your children to the magical world of reading. Vocabulary is built this way, and a big vocabulary helps when learning to read on your own!
2. Model Reading Behavior. Let them see you read! Talk about books. Show your enthusiasm for trips to the library and bookstore. My kids know I have no problem denying a request for new toys, but I’m a sucker when it comes to books-I rarely say no! My kids have had library cards from the time they were five. My kids watch me carry my kindle around in purse. I have books stacked on my bedside table. They see me hosting book clubs. They hear me talking to my friends about books.
3. Let them read whatever they enjoy. Everyone likes choices! For some kids they are going to like funny stories. For some kids they would prefer dramatic stories. For some kids non-fiction. IT IS ALL GOOD. My little gravitates towards Captain Underpants and DogMan with a side of the “My Weird School Series”. Are they obnoxious? YES. Is he reading? YES. I will call it a win and happily provide him with access to these books. When it comes to my older child, I don’t do much censoring of what she is reading. I let her choose, and if I’m concerned, I read it too so we can discuss. She reads voraciously so I wouldn’t be able to keep up with her anyway!
4. Make it fun! Some kids have a hard time sitting still. I guarantee, if it is a good, engaging story, they are hearing you even if they are bouncing around the room while they are reading. With younger children, spend time looking at and discussing illustrations. With older kids spend time discussing emotions and the different ways they are portrayed. Ask them questions, use different voices, point out connections! Graphic novels can be a great way to get reluctant readers to enjoy reading.
5. Use technology. My youngest struggled a bit with intimidation. He could read, but if there were too many words on a page, he would immediately be unwilling to try. We bought him a Kindle Paperwhite and made the font large enough that there were only a few words to a paragraph on each page. Problem solved-he could get through chapter books with no difficulty. We began reserving books online via the Libby app (more here) through the library. All of the sudden we had a whole new source of reading material! We also use the Libby app to download audiobooks and load them on to my child’s Ipad. He will listen to books while doing legos, creating art, or building forts. My elementary school child and high child both have GoodReads accounts to track their reading and keep a list of what they would like to read next.
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Looking for some great books to help you in Raising Readers? Check these out! (This is by no means an exhaustive list: I could actually go on all day on this subject!) -and we want your suggestions! Place them in the comments below for everyone to see!
Judy Schachner: “SkippyJon Jones”
Learning to Read:
James Dean: Pete the Cat and his Four Groovy Buttons
Check out early readers in ANY character your child likes! Examples include Paw Patrol, Captain Marvel, Batman, Disney Princess, Fancy Nancy, Justice League, Pinkalicious, etc.
Reading Chapter Books:
Dan Gutman: My Weird School Series
Mary Pope Osborne: Magic Treehouse Series
Jeff Kinney: Diary of A Wimpy Kid Series
Rick Riordan: The Percy Jackson Series
JK Rowling: The Harry Potter Series
Looking for a Kindle Paper White? I use this one for my kids!
And for a pediatrician’s take on reading aloud to your kids, check out Dr. Joannie Yeh (Betamomma.com)! She has an entire you tube series on reading interactively to your kids, complete with ideas to encourage early literacy!
So let’s talk about the giveaway! My amazing friend, Rebecca Ansari, just published her debut book- “The Missing Piece of Charlie O’Reilly” aimed at middle grade readers (ages 8-12). I’ve got TWO autographed copies, especially for our readers! Enter the giveaway below and if you win, we will get a copy sent to you! (The winners will be chosen randomly by rafflecopter on March 22nd-please read the terms and conditions!)
Enter here: log in and leave us a blog comment below about your favorite book for kids! Also, join the conversation on Facebook or Instagram!