A child who loves to read usually grows up into an adult who loves to learn. While all school children receive instruction in reading from their teachers, homeschool families have a unique opportunity to encourage an enthusiastic love for reading at any time.
Despite this flexibility, it can be challenging to help kids develop a genuine love for reading, especially as a pastime. Try these surefire ways to raise a child who loves to read! (Of course, nothing is guaranteed, but these will help you get closer to the goal.)
1. Read Aloud
Reading books aloud has a profound impact on a child's love of reading. While it may seem that children aren't listening to the story, they are even if they're jumping around or simply staring at the pictures. As kids listen, their love of storytelling grows, and they start to understand plot, characters, dialogue, and setting. Even more important, they learn the magic of books — that they are doors to other worlds, people, and lives.
Every BookShark curriculum package has a carefully selected and clearly scheduled collection of read alouds for the whole family to enjoy. You can be sure that our homeschool curriculum is helping you achieve your goal of raising readers.
When time is short, you can rely on audio books and audio dramas to keep your home (or vehicle) full of great literature.
2. Encourage Pretend Play
For children, pretend play is the gateway to storytelling. A toddler who plays pretend with stuffed animals is actually writing a script, setting a scene, and directing action just as a playwright or a director would. When children have the freedom to play in pretend or imaginary settings, they are building a genuine fascination with stories.
Children who are exposed to read alouds and audio books tend to enact the stories they hear, choosing different roles and even embellishing on the original with their own interpretations. This way of interacting with the texts enriches their experience with literature and embeds the stories deep into their understanding.
3. Visit the Public Library
The public library has evolved quite a lot over the years. Now these institutions offer much more than books, including computers, group events, networking, and other social functions. But the library is still a bastion of reading, so regularly taking children to the library instills a love of books and learning. Attending library story times, in particular, is a wonderful way for kids to hear new stories.
Let each child have her own library card and select her own stack of books to checkout. Back at home, keep those library books in a single spot when they are not being read, and teach your children to respect the borrowed titles with gentle use.
4. Set an Example in Reading
Children will always watch what their parents do more than they listen to what their parents say. When kids see their parents read for pleasure, they learn to associate reading with recreation and relaxation. Reading becomes something that is done for fun, not out of obligation or as a school assignment.
Whether you are reading books, magazines, or newspapers, let your kids see you read. If you are reading articles on your mobile device, let them know that you are doing that instead of playing games or chatting on social media. Simply mentioning something interesting you read will let them know that you are fascinated by your reading matter. At mealtimes, ask everyone to share something he read that day or week. It can be a news story, an event from fiction, or a fact from a reference book.
Raising readers can pose a challenge in our technology driven world, but if parents encourage pretend play, expose their children to great stories, and set an example in recreational reading, it can be done. With these tips, children can grow into natural readers and lifelong learners!