This time of year, “read more books” makes its inevitable annual appearance on people’s lists of new year’s resolutions. And it’s no wonder: there’s actually scientific evidence that reading fiction, for example, improves brain function and helps you understand and empathize with others. It’s a pretty good resolution to have. And if you’re keen to instill at least that one commitment in your kids, too, (studies show that stronger early reading skills predict higher intelligence later on) we’d like to help. We’re all acutely aware that resolutions are tough to stick to, so here at Literati we’ve searched out the best tips to get your kids reading this year – and help them continue to read.
Let them choose
“When my now grown-up son was a little boy, I used to take him for walks in the neighborhood. Sometimes when we came to an intersection, I would ask him which way we should go, and then we would go in the direction that he suggested. I suggest that parents and others who care for children take a similar approach when encouraging children to read. Adults are always recommending books to children, but sometimes children like to recommend books to adults. If a parent asks a child to recommend a book and then reads that book, the child feels empowered. This creates an opportunity for the parent and the child to talk about the book and for the parent to gain insights into the child’s interests and reading tastes.” – Dr. Mark West, Chair of the Department of English, UNC Charlotte.
Ritualize daily reading time
“Set up a “cozy reading time” every day. This can be a perfect chill-out time after school, or a wind-down time at the end of the evening. It’s amazing how motivated kids are to read if this allows them to stay up a little later.” – Aha! Parenting
Practice shared reading
“Shared reading, or reading as a collective experience could entail taking turns reading pages, sections or chapters, or you and your child silently reading the same book.” – PBS Parents
Set a good example
“It’s important for parents to be readers. The impact that your own behavior can have on your children can’t be underestimated. Talk about what you are reading with your children. Share what you find most interesting and explain why. Ask your kids to share the parts they like with you from whatever they are reading. And talk about what you are reading with each other.” – Great Schools
Make a game of it
“Send kids on a treasure hunt, the treasure being a book. Leave clues that lead them around the house to discover it in an unexpected place.” – Today’s Parent
Use Funny Voices
“I have … used ‘character voice cards’ to practice fluency with repeated readings. Students choose a card and read in that ‘voice.’ The cards range from ‘whisper’ to ‘cowboy’. Students think this is so much fun. There is always a little laughter, but students are motivated to read again and again.” – Edutopia
Swap Ariana Grande for an audiobook
“Yes, audiobooks count as reading—and they can help children do it better. Hearing someone reading a book confidently is a great way to experience fluency, which is the ability to read a text accurately, quickly, and with good expression.” – Parents.com
Merge movies with books
“Hollywood is turning to teen lit for ideas more than ever. Offer your teen the print version to read before or after a big film adaptation comes out, and talk about the similarities and differences between the two.” – Common Sense Media
Join a Book Club
– like Literati Books, for example! Finding the world’s best children’s books is hard. Literati makes it easy.