Before I had children I worked as a school psychologist. One of my roles was to encourage parents, teachers, and children toward academic success. I often wrote articles and created hand outs for parents and teachers. Topics ranged from ways to promote positive reading attitudes to developing coping strategies in kids. Recently, I was going through some of my files and folders to see if any activities I created would be good for Izzy. I was also forced to go through graduate school materials during our move. As I was organizing I found an article I wrote about simple steps parents can take to promote positive reading attitudes. I thought it would be fun to share some of the ideas on my blog!
First it is important to recognize that as parents we play a major role in our children’s education and we influence their attitudes when it comes to learning. When children have positive attitudes about reading they are more willing to read, take pleasure in reading and develop a lifelong interest in reading. Think about it, if your kids never see you reading, why would they want to? This is definitely something I think about with Izzy.
5 Ways Parents Can Promote Positive Reading Attitudes:
- Read with and to your children! I know pediatricians are pushing this more nowadays especially when babies are just born. I personally think it’s a great idea to start when they are young. When Izzy was 3-4 months old we started a bedtime routine and that always induced reading her a book. Her favorite was Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See? This can be done as a family every night. I have wonderful memories of reading books with my parents before bed and I hope to pass this tradition on to our kids.
- Expand your choices of reading materials at home. Your children may be more likely to read when there is reading material readily available. Find what interests them and what materials they find fascinating. Remember reading can be done using a variety of materials. Many kids love graphic novels (novels written in a comic book style) or reading magazines. It doesn’t ways have the be the traditional “book” to be used as a learning tool.
- Talk about what you are reading or seeing on the pages. This will enrich the experience. Here are some examples of what you can ask: “Who is the main character in the story?” or “What do you think will happen next?” or “What was your favorite part of the book?”
- Visit the local library. I LOVED going to the library when I was a young child. It was thrilling looking through all the books and picking out my favorites to take home for the week. Now with Izzy we go check out book and attend the read aloud classes. Many local libraries offer free programs for kids and it’s a great way to get them excited about reading. Going to the library also gives children an opportunity to select their own reading materials.
- Have fun and don’t force it. If your child wants to take a break from reading, let them. It’s great to model positive reading attitudes for them and give them opportunities (such as the ones listed above) to get exited about reading. But in my opinion it shouldn’t become a chore and it shouldn’t be forced. If your child is really resistant, try making it fun by creating activities to go with the books or acting out the scenes. The younger you start these positive habits the more likely they are to stick.