How would you like to learn how to help your child succeed in school?
What if I said that your child’s success in school boils down to early learning, literacy, and reading?
Better yet, what if I showed you 15 ways you can promote reading and literacy in your own home?
Promote Reading by Being a Reading Advocate
If you want your child to read more books, you need to promote a positive, strong reading culture in your own home. It would help if you were a reading advocate.
What is a reading advocate?
A reading advocate values literacy and encourages children to read. Reading advocates provide a literacy-rich environment, read with children, and pursue opportunities for verbal interaction.
There are 100s of ways you can promote reading in your community and your own home.
15 Easy Tips to Promote Reading & Literacy in Your Home
1. Get your child their own library card.
It costs you nothing! Bonus: There is no age requirement to become a library cardholder. Why get them their own library card? It promotes independence, gives your child the autonomy to choose books they like, and generates enthusiasm for reading. When my children started elementary school, I purchased book totes for each of them. It helped us keep the library books organized and ready to return.
2. Visit the library often.
Schedule your trips and prioritize them. Kids cycle through books fast, especially during the elementary school years. You want to ensure they have lots of reading material at home. Buying books can be costly. Hit up the library 2-4 times a month to stock up on the latest releases!
3. Promote reading by attending storytime and other events at your library.
In the digital age, libraries mean free Internet services, literacy programs, research databases, meetings, classes, ebooks, audiobooks, community outreach, and more. Check your library’s website. I think you’ll be surprised to see all of the great programmings your family can enjoy. Use them. They’re free! By participating, you give back to your community.
4. Talk about books!
When you’re looking for dinnertime table topics, talk to your child about what you’ve been reading. Please encourage them to do the same. Soon I’ll be publishing a list of over 100 bookish questions you can keep on hand for when you want to encourage literacy around the dinner table.
5. Choose reading when you have to wait.
It’s easy to pull out phones and tablets but leave them at home. Opt for books instead. Keep a basket of books in your car and pull them out for appointments. You can rotate the books you keep in the basket, or you can keep the same books in it and only let your child read them during long wait times. Trust me! They’ll look forward to pulling out those books. I keep a book basket handy in my car at all times.
6. Promote reading by placing reading materials in visible, accessible areas of your home.
Keep books on tables. In baskets. In the car. You don’t need fancy bookshelves! You only need books. The more books during the primary school years, the better!
7. Model a wide variety of reading options.
Listen to audiobooks in the car. Show your child your cookbook when you prepare dinner, and teach them how to follow a recipe. Subscribe to your favorite magazine. Remember, comics and graphic novels 100% count as reading too!
8. Model a happy reading life.
Be a reader to grow a reader! Let your child see you read often. Read books, magazines, cookbooks, and newspapers. Talk is just that–talk. Show your children that you value reading by actually reading.
9. Read aloud to your child.
Use passion, expression, and get silly with different voices. Make read-aloud time a habit!
Last May, I wrote an article for Scary Mommy called Why I Still Read Out Loud To My Teens. Yes, we still read aloud to our teens! It’s been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. In addition to the extra bonding time, read-alouds help with reading comprehension and literacy.
My four children consistently score in the 99th percentile for reading assessments (including the verbal component of the PSAT). I attribute their successes to our focus on literacy during early childhood.
10. Promote reading by forming a book club in your own home.
Come back and talk about what you’ve read together. Use family book club as a time to connect and bond. This works well for reluctant and struggling readers. It generates enthusiasm because it’s more active with discussion time.
11. Buddy read with your child.
A buddy read is when you read a book simultaneously as someone else so you can discuss it–either during the process or once you’ve finished. Recently, my 11-year-old and I buddy read Philip Pullman’s The Golden Compass. Once we finished the book, we discussed it together. Not only do buddy reads promote bonding, but they create a deeper understanding of reading material.
12. Introduce your children to audiobooks.
Audiobooks allow readers to listen to books at a higher level than they can read independently. In turn, this builds confidence and fluency. Hands down, you can use audiobooks to improve your child’s reading skills. This goes for children of all ages–including middle and high schoolers. Don’t underestimate technology! There are many surprising benefits to audiobooks. Plus, they’re a super easy and fun way to engage readers of all ages!
13. Promote reading by talking about books on social media.
Make it clear to your followers that you are a reading advocate. Post pictures of your library books and purchases, and discuss the plot, characters, themes, etc. You’d be surprised by the number of people who seek book recommendations and reviews online. This ties into modeling a happy reading life. You never know. You could inspire a non-reader!
14. Donate books to those in need.
Donate to shelters, daycares, and children in need. Ask your child to help you sort the books you plan to donate! One of my local elementary schools keeps a donation bin for gently used books, which it then donates to schools in need of independent reading materials. Find local organizations near you that need books.
15. Promote reading by watching adaptations.
Watch book-to-film/television adaptations. Engage your child in literature through film. Use this opportunity to discuss how the film lives up to the book! Recently, two of my children read Anne of Green Gables and then watched the Netflix adaptation Anne With An E. I listened to them discuss both the book and its adaptation for hours!
Focus on one or two of the tips above, and I promise you’ll generate more enthusiasm for reading in your own home.
Do you have any tips to add to this list? Please share in the comments!
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