One of the best ways to get kids excited about reading is through a read aloud. Research has shown that reading aloud to children has huge benefits. It helps kids acquire language, gain comprehension skills and get ready for school. It is the single most important thing parents can do to help their children, yet many parents struggle to find the time to do it. Below are some tips to help you make reading a priority.
1.) Set up a reading routine.
As a parent, I have found the easiest time for shared reading is at bedtime. I started a routine when my kids were infants. Our “bath, book, bed” routine is still going on eight years later. My kids know the routine so it helps them settle down and I love the extra cuddle time.
2.) Pick Great Books!
Book selection is key. I tend to let my kids pick the books we read, but I have found it to be equally exciting when I pull out one of my childhood favorites. My children got really excited when I told them about Fudge getting cereal poured over his head in Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing. Sharing memories of your childhood favorites is incredibly powerful so think back to what made you smile as a kid.
3.) Use feedback to make future selections.
Pay attention when you are reading to your kids. Notice when they laugh, seem worried, or even bored. The goal is to engage your child so that he wants to read more. When you find a book that sparks his interest, see if there is another book in that series or genre. I was surprised when my daughter brought home a library book about the Titanic. It was not a book I would have picked for her, but she was enthralled with the topic. The next day, I got two more books from the library on the famous ship. She couldn’t wait to read them.
As fluency in reading increases, kids should spend more time reading independently. Don’t give up reading aloud to your child though. I split our reading time between read aloud and independent reading. Some kids will naturally find their own books, making it easy for parents, but what about that kid who just can’t seem to find a book he likes?
4.) Picture books are fine!
Many parents want to see their kids in chapter books right away. My advice is to let your child read what she likes, even if that means picture books. There are picture books and chapter books on all reading levels so picture books aren’t always easier to read. Some kids with attention difficulties have trouble with chapter books because the story lines are too complicated.
5.) Magazines are a great choice.
They give shorter stories for kids who don’t want to commit to a drawn out story and they are usually full of content specific language which increases vocabulary.
6.) Kids love nonfiction.
For some reason, we forget about this genre. Kids are fascinated with severe weather, bugs, and foreign lands. Grab a variety of nonfiction topics from your library, and you might find one that sparks your child’s interest.
Below I have listed several books that I have seen really motivate kids. I hope these suggestions help you get your kids excited about books.
Picture Books (all ages)
Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin
No David! David Shannon
Tornadoes Seymour Simon
This is Not My Hat Jon Klassen
Frog and Toad are Friends Arnold Lobel
The Stinky Cheese Man Jon Scieszka