Creating a Reading Home for Your Child
We have all heard it, reading at home is so very important for academic development. Research has been conducted for years, and this fact has become very clear. We read about it, hear about it from our children's teachers, and even see posts about it on Instagram from mommy bloggers. It usually stops at the facts- the more books your child reads, the better off they will be. Today I want to go past the facts that we all know and jump in to how to become a "reading home" for your child's academic benefit even if you are not a big reader yourself.
You do not have to have a beauty and the beast library in your home to make sure your child has a rich reading life. You do not have to spend hours and a fortune purchasing the "perfect" books on amazon. You do not even have to have a designated book area in your home. Hopefully you find these ideas easy, painless and maybe even a little bit fun.
Lets jump in.
Visit the library often
Children's books can be expensive, especially when kids change their interests and reading level every month. Don't let this keep you from having lots of books around. Frequenting the library can keep your home filled with new and interesting books all year round for $0 (unless you have library fines). Roaming the library and choosing books to read will also help your child develop a love of reading.
If you feel a little lost when helping your child choose books at the library check out my post on what to do during library trips.
I know this one is a little bit obvious, but it is worth mentioning.
When you read with your child it creates warm fuzzy memories associated with books. These associations will make it more likely that your child will read on their own and develop a love of reading. If you can, carve out a little time, pick a book with your child and submerge yourself in the warm fuzzies.
Create a book routine
Some people do bed time stories which is great. I want to challenge you to create another book routine. Think of a time during your child's day that could use a little calm and consider creating a reading routine during that time. You could read a poem or short story together before school or camp. A little calm and reading could be helpful after high energy activities like swimming at the pool or sports practice. During your book routine you could read together or separately while you "chill out". This could be an excellent opportunity for you to get more time with a really gripping novel.
Let your kids catch you reading
This one can go a long way! Even if you are not a reader, making sure that your child sees you reading is so important. If you are anything like me you do most of your reading before bed. Make a conscious effort to read out in the open where you child can see you. You may see that before long your child will bring their own book in to the room to read with you.
Catch an "edge moment"
Edge moments are those little bits of time where you don't have anything to do. I know, if you are like me you are saying "I always have something to do or that I should be doing!!". Kids have a lot of edge moments in their little lives, and you might have more than you think. Start practicing catching edge moments when you are out running errands. Every time you and your child have to stand in a line or wait for something, keep your books handy and read a couple of pages while you wait. You might be surprised how much your child ends up reading just in edge moments!
Sometimes busy families don't have time to read together. That is okay! Audiobooks give your child the opportunity to reap some of the benefits of a read aloud. Listening to audiobooks with or without the print book at hand will help nurture your child's love of learning, build their vocabulary, and help them learn new things. Whenever possible make the print version of the book available for your child to follow along with as they listen. Following along while listening to an audiobook can help your child learn to decode and recognize new words.