Reading is fundamental and as parents we all know the importance of trying to get our children to read at home. However, trying to promote reading at home can be downright exhausting and the thought of getting our children to actually sit down and open a book can seem like a dream.
When my daughters were young, I was always on the search for those save me reading tips for parents and the funny thing was my full-time job during the day was being a teacher. I felt pretty ridiculous at times trying to look for reading tips for parents when I was in the position to give out that information. In my own defense though, I was good at promoting reading in the classroom and I was able to give reading tips to parents, but when it came to my own children at home, I was no longer teacher but instead just Mom and I was desperate.
It took me quite a long time and after exhaustive effort, I did find some very simple things I could do for my children that did help to promote reading in my home and it really was not hard, I believe that I came to the realization that I could not force my children to read, but I sure could coax them.
Here are five very simple things I did at home as a parent to promote reading:
Make books accessible
When my daughters did read, I knew what kinds of books they enjoyed and what held their interest. So in almost every room of the house, I placed a basket filled with books and the books were ones that I knew my girls would enjoy. My girls did not read every time they went into a room, but I did notice that often when they were sitting in a room they would go over and grab a book out of the basket. The other benefit of placing books in a basket in my rooms of my house is that it added to the décor of the room and that was something I had not anticipated.
Set a good example
I made sure that I read magazines and newspapers every day and my daughters saw me doing this. I had numerous magazine subscriptions and as my daughters became older, they too also started looking at the magazines. Both girls today love to read magazines and have multiple subscriptions. It is really important to set a good example and make sure that kids see their parents reading in the home for multiple purposes such as work and leisure.
Read before bedtime
In our home, everyone read in bed before falling asleep; when my daughters were really young I would read to them in bed, but as they grew older they started to read on their own before falling asleep. We seemed to get in a habit of reading every night before falling asleep and eventually my daughters read out of habit.
Talk about what you are reading
When I was reading a really good book or I read a great article in a magazine, I would talk to my daughters about it and of course my excitement would be obvious and many times, my daughters would end up reading the book or article themselves. My girls would also tell me about what they were reading and I can remember some of our most fun discussions centered on books.
Visit the library
Although visiting a library is not something you do at home, I think a library is so important and imperative to add to this list because the books will be brought into the home. When my daughters were little, I took them for story time every week and when they eventually grew out of story time, we still went to the library on a weekly basis because we enjoyed it so much. My favorite part of the library besides the books was that it did not cost a penny to enjoy all the wonderful literature and other excellent materials that were at the library.