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It’s Back to School season and teachers everywhere are sending home reading logs! I have a love/hate relationship with reading logs. I LOVE encouraging kids to read. LOVE THAT PART. But I hate having to record it every day! Mostly because I am the world’s WORST at checking The Folder. It’s like some mental block for me – suddenly it’s Friday and I realize that I have forgotten every. single. day. that week. Why is this so hard?!
Because of this, most weeks I have to put in an email to my kids’ teachers apologizing for my negligence and yes, in fact, my kids read every day, but I have no clue on earth how long and what they read aside from the things I read to them. The thing is that they read ALL THE TIME! I just can’t keep up.
Which is such a wonderful thing that I don’t take for granted. I love that my kids love books.
Here is some encouragement for you to help your own kids love books, too.
Have Books Everywhere and Read Aloud Often
One of the best things you can do to encourage excitement for reading is to simply have books everywhere. When my kids were babies I kept books on the changing table and they would look at them when they were old enough to hold a book while I changed their diaper. I keep books in a basket in the backseat of the car for them to look at while we drive (we try to stay away from technology and stick to books, listening to music, talking, or looking out the window). We keep books in a basket by the kitchen table and sometimes I will read to them during lunch or dinner. Both boys have bookshelves in their rooms and every night they get to choose a book for me to read to them before bed. Where do I find good books? Most of our books are ones that I have loved myself, found recommended by other parents, or pertain to topics that interest my boys (important for getting kids excited about reading). You can see a list of our favorite books HERE. The more exposure our kids have to books and the more good experiences we can give them with books, the more they will learn to love books.
Visit the Library
To tag team that thought about giving your kids good experiences with books, I love taking my kids to the library. Imagine, they can check out all of the books they want for FREE! It’s like Christmas! Well, unless you have a nasty fine (not me ever – ahem). Most libraries have story hours and special programs for kids that provide opportunities for engagement with literature in a fun way. My boys BEG me to take them to the library. Plus, having their own plastic library card is very cool.
Surprise Book Gifts
I love buying books for my boys. It is tradition for my boys to get lots of new books on their birthdays. When we are out shopping and they see a book they want, I have a hard time saying no because of all the benefits. If it’s a toy, I have no problem saying no, but new books are magic. Most books for kids are not very expensive. I love the paperback book options at Target, the grocery store, wholesale clubs, and one of my favorite places to buy inexpensive books is Homegoods (or similar stores like Ross, Marshall’s, and TJ Maxx). Sometimes if I find a good book that I know my boys will love, I will pick it up as a surprise, wrap it up and give it to them as a gift – for no reason other than BOOKS.
Make Reading Fun
Here are a few fun ideas to help you create positive reading experiences for your kiddos.
- Make special bookmarks together! Cut a long rectangular strip out of white card stock and punch a hole in the top. Let your child decorate each side with markers and stickers. Then let your child choose a ribbon to pull through the hole as a tassel. Or print THESE cute Punchcard Bookmarks from Over the Big Moon.
- Build a Reading Fort! Use sheets and blankets to create a special space for your child to read. If you don’t want to build something, I highly recommend the teepees at Teepee Joy. You can see ours HERE.
- Read Alouds! Call a relative and have your child read aloud to him/her. I’m sure Grammie would love a performance of Green Eggs and Ham. Or plan to have a special Read Aloud Presentation at the dinner table.
- Let them read while sitting on an exercise ball.
- Listen to Audio Books! This is not cheating at all! My kids LOVE to listen to books. We just rented Scaredy Squirrel (affiliate link) from the library and it came with an audio CD that had my kids howling with laughter.
- Give them flashlights and let them read in the dark after they are supposed to be asleep. 🙂
Love Books Yourself
This is probably most important! I love to read. My nose is ALWAYS in a book or a magazine. HERE is a list of some of my favorite books. I grew up with the fondest memories of reading. I spent hours at the local bookstore after school. I walked down to the library on the weekends and I remember the library’s summer program punch cards to win Pizza Hut pizzas as the greatest incentive ever. I spent the majority of my money during my Middle School years on the Sweet Valley Twins junior high series. I owned every. single. one. I immersed myself in books and dreamed of being a writer one day. I like to think that my own passion for reading has helped encourage my boys to love it too. They really do take our lead on most things! Except healthy eating. I have not sold that one on my kids through modeling. 🙂
How do you encourage your kids to get excited about reading?