Teaching your kids to love books by doing a little extra credit work together at home, is a way to promote your child from being a so-so reader to a great reader.
As the bell rings your child back to school at the end of the month, your child may be tempted to read less at home, use these fun ideas to keep your family reading together. You’ll help even reluctant readers get excited about books, create great family memories and give your kids a helping hand with their schoolwork.
BRING IT TO LIFE
Pick a book to read together, and then use the theme to give your daily routines a literary twist. Choose pirate names for Treasure Island week or serve up pumpkin juice and butterbeer (cream soda with butterscotch syrup) for Harry Potter week. Dress up as your favorite characters, plan themed meals or take a field trip that’s based on the book – to a historic site for Civil War on Sunday or a farm for Charlotte’s Web.
JOIN A BOOK CLUB
Starting a family book club is a sure-fire way to get your kids excited about reading. Pick a book that everyone can read on his or her own, then set a realistic deadline based on the book’s length and your readers’ ages. To make it fun, create cool membership cards, dream up a secret handshake and decorate a “speaking stick” to pass around when it’s each family member’s turn to talk about the book.
GO WITH A THEME
If your family has a range of reading levels, it can be hard to choose one book that will satisfy everyone. Instead of making your high schooler read Junie B. Jones or your 10 year old struggle through The Great Gatsby, let everyone vote on a theme. Try general topics like animal-themed stories or mysteries. Then help everyone find a book to read at their own pace. After you’re done, have each person do a quick plot recap and then share what they liked about the book. It’s fun to see how similar or how different some of the details are.
TURN ON THE SPOTLIGHT
If you’d rather read the same book try reading it out loud to make it more manageable. First take a group vote on a few preselected titles. Try the classics, because you can get abridged versions. Then create a schedule for “Reader of the Day” and pick a time that’s most convenient, like right after dinner. Quick readers can knock off a chapter or two while tentative readers can share a turn with Mom or Dad.
HELP WITH HOMEWORK
Just because your kids have required reading for school doesn’t mean the whole family can’t join in. if your high schooler is reading Romeo and Juliet, for example, check out Shakespeare Stories, by Leon Garfield, or rent a kid friendly movie adaptation. You can also find stories to explore topics your kids are studying in other subjects. If your middle schooler’s learning about life on the frontier, you might check out The Courage of Sarah Noble, by Alice Dalgliesh.
MAKE IT FUN
To make sure your family reading time feels less like school, get creative. Meet outside on a picnic blanket under shady trees or snuggle up together on the couch. Or try playing this simple but yummy game. Bake a batch of sugar cookies and use icing to write words like plot, character, and theme. Then have each family member choose a cookie and talk about how that literary element showed up in the book.
Load up on books, magazines and newspapers, even comic books. Just because a child doesn’t love fantasy doesn’t mean he’s not a reader he may prefer nonfiction tales.
ON-LINE FREE READING MATERIAL
If you are trying to save money there are a few web sites that can help you save while finding great stories to read as a family.
http://www.candlelightstories.com offers downloadable illustrated stories, online writing, and pen pals. You can also review your favorite books and games, and learn how animated movies are made.
http://www.storyplus.com/FreeStoriesList.asp offers downloadable stories you do need Acrobat 4.0 or above for this site.
http://www.freestoriescenter.com offers short stories, poems, full stories, and even jokes (hay reading is reading right?)
http://www.pagebypagebooks.com offers hundreds of classic books you can read right now, online for free.
http://books-on-line.com/bol/default.cfm offers all known books for down loading, over 59,473 and counting.