15 Ways for Parents to Encourage Reading
1. Look for things your children might like to read. Use their interests and hobbies as starting points.
2. Leave all sorts of reading materials, including books, magazines and colorful catalogs, in easy-to-find places around your home.
3. Notice what books grab your children's attention, even if they only look at the pictures. Then build on that interest: read a short selection aloud or simply bring home more information on the same subject.
4. Let your children see you reading for pleasure in your spare time.
5. Take your children to the library regularly! Explore the children's section together. Ask a librarian to suggest books and magazines your children might enjoy.
6. Encourage older children to read to their younger brothers and sisters. Older children enjoy showing off their skills to an admiring audience.
7. Perhaps over dinner, or while you're running errands, share your thoughts about things you've read, and encourage your children to do the same.
8. Set aside a regular time for reading in your family, separate from schoolwork: the 20 minutes before lights out, just after dinner or whatever fits into your household schedule. As little as 10 minutes of free reading a day can help improve your child's skills and habits.
9. Read aloud to your children! The pleasure of listening to you read encourages your children's enthusiasm for books and reading. According to the Favorite Teacher Blog, "The single biggest predictor of high academic achievement and high ACT scores is reading to children. Not flash cards, not workbooks, not fancy preschools, not blinking toys or computers, but Mom or Dad taking the time every day or night (or both!) to sit and read them wonderful books."
10. On gift-giving occasions, give books and magazines based on your children's current interests.
11. Set aside a special place for children to keep their own books.
12. Offer special incentives to encourage your children's reading. Allow your children to stay up an extra 15 minutes to finish a chapter, take your children to the bookstore after they have finished their books and let them pick out new books, or promise to take your children to see a movie after they have finished the book on which it was based.
13. Not all reading takes place between the covers of a book. What about menus, road signs, food labels and sheet music? Take advantage of countless spur-of-the-moment opportunities for reading during the course of your family's busy day.
14. Have your children read to the dog! No kidding! Dogs are good, non-judgemental listeners.
15. Celebrate success! A progress chart, stickers or letting your children pick the next story is a great motivator for kids!
"We have an obligation to read aloud to our children. To read them things they enjoy. To read to them stories we are already tired of. To do voices, to make it interesting, and not to stop reading to them just because they learn to read to themselves."