by Jennie Smith, Secondary Assistant Principal
and Avid Reader
A good book can sweep me away for hours – I ignore housework, grading, and even sleep for a good read. I’d rather read a great novel than watch TV or a movie. I often wonder…how can I make my kids love books as much as I do?
The August 2012 Family Fun magazine had an excellent article called “Encouraging a Love of Reading: 7 Ways to Inspire Your Kids.” Here are a few of my favorites, mixed with a few of my thoughts:
- Start a book by reading the first few chapters or pages out loud to them. Use lots of vocal inflection and character voices to make it super interesting. Then let them finish on their own.
- Make a game out of it. Have the whole family read the first part of a book no one has read and then everyone has to guess how it ends. Have a prize for the one who comes the closest to the real ending and the one with the most creative ending.
- Take them by surprise. Cancel bedtime to let kids stay up late reading a good book (on Friday night of course). Or have a family read-a-thon and everyone pile on mom and dad’s bed or make a cozy reading area in the living room with pillows and blankets. Take turns reading great passages to each other.
- Introduce your kids to the “book leprechaun.” Surprise your kids with a great book hidden somewhere in the house.
- Vary the format. There’s no law that says a reader must have a physical book. Let them use an e-reader or tablet or audio book for something different. With today’s techie generation, this type of format may appeal to them in a more significant way.
- Let them choose reading material based on things they like: sports, cats, or orcas. Print out cool articles you see on-line or pick up an interesting magazine for them. Reading is reading whether it is a book or a short article.
- One mom in the Family Fun article describes how she set up themed reading areas on occasion for her daughter. She would set up a tent “with flashlights and books on camping, bugs, and animal tracking.” Add some s’mores and you’re all set! She also did a tea-party hideaway with themed books and stuffed animals and snacks.
Fostering a love of reading is one of my life goals for my children and my students too. Making it interesting, light-hearted, and fun may be the key to watching them flip the pages of a book with the rest of the world tuned out.
If you would like more information on Family Fun magazine, you can visit their website at familyfun.go.com