Reading is not only an important skill, it can be an inexpensive past time for families whose budget has been stretched to the limit. Rather than simply telling children they have to read a certain amount of time each day, make it interesting and even fun to read by adding these ideas into your family life.
Books on Tape
Read a young child’s favorite book into a tape player. Let the child listen to the story and follow along in their book. Book series on tape or CD can also be rented from the library. Listening to stories can be a good transition for a reluctant reader.
Expand this idea by making it a family project. Choose a book everyone enjoys and do a dramatic reading into a tape player. Start with a short book with a character for each person and if this is enjoyable, move on to a longer book. Siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles or a group of your children’s friends can do this activity together. Consider making a copy of your dramatic reading to give to a friend in the hospital or mail to a distant cousin.
Read Around the World
Develop both geography and reading skills with a few supplies. Start with a large world map, thumbtacks, slips of paper and markers.
Develop an itinerary for the family. Create a starting point and find books from the library about that country. Look in a children’s librarians subject reference book. Depending on the ages of your children, you can read picture books from, or about the country. Fables and fairy tales, customs, history, magazine articles, anything goes. After reading and discussing books write the titles on a piece of paper and thumbtack to the map. Everyone in the family can travel together, or each child can make their own journey.
Show children how to write a postcard requesting information about states to the appropriate Chamber of Congress. They can also write to the corresponding United States embassy for information.
Read Outside the Book
School-aged kids may become opposed to reading if they have are saddled with a lot of homework, are struggling readers or just have never enjoyed books. There are other ways to keep them reading beyond regular books.
Consider providing other options such as magazines, comic books, joke books, activity books. Purchase children’s cookbooks and post-it notes. Let them choose recipes and write the needed ingredients on a post-it. The next time you go shopping pick up the ingredients and let them try it out.
Order a magazine in your child’s favorite subject, whether that is a sport, fashion or video games. Catalogs are another idea for kids who are passionate about a subject. Music lovers can be encouraged to look up lyrics or find out the inspiration behind the song and may even be inspired to have them write their own.
Finally, make it a point to pick out books for gifts. Give your own children books on special occasions as well as encouraging them to choose a fun chapter book, comic or joke book to go with their friends birthday gift. Paperback books are often the same price or less than a greeting card. Go ahead and let them inscribe a greeting on the inside cover and pop in an envelope to put on the present. Choosing books will become a habit.