Our four children are so different but one thing they have in common is they all enjoy reading. Although sometimes we have to suggest reading as an activity, once they start they often will read for an extended period of time. We have been known to actually tell them to put their book away and do something else! I know some parents are hating me right now and think this is crazy but stay with me for a second.
I know getting children to read willingly and without a fuss is not always the case for many families so I wanted to share just one of the ways I have found to greatly increase their reading time and enjoyment.
We are often driving here and there around town for errand, appointments, etc. We are lucky in that most places we go are within 20 minutes of our home but 40 minutes round trip, plus any wait time, really adds up. Soooo enter reading in the car. I often tell the kids to grab a book before we head out in the car. We don’t watch DVD’s or other video systems in the car, don’t have portable gaming systems, and although 2 of my children have cell phones, playing on these while in the car (or rarely in general ) is not an option. This leaves the radio (which is usually on) and/or reading. Boredom and accessibility to books often is enough to encourage children who may not otherwise pick up a book by choice. I would suggest you have a tote, basket, or some kind of container near them to choose from. Provide a variety of interests and books at different reading levels so they can enjoy them and feel successful. Let them choose books to bring with them or add to the collective bin. My children (who are just as loud, fight with each other, and generally noisy as any other kids…) are never more quiet than when we are coming home from the library with a new stack of books. It is so wonderful to hear them silently reading in the back seat.
**This brings me to frugal ways to get discounted or free (my favorite) books. USE YOUR PUBLIC LIBRARY. This is a FREE (using your tax dollars) resource and a wonderful often underutilized benefit. They have books (obviously), ebooks, audiobooks-both CD and digital versions (my personal favorite, I’ll talk more about that later), magazines, DVDs, and more. Many have story times for children and programs for adults. Other options are thrift stores or exchanging books with a friend. Have your children help decide which books they are finished reading and willing to give (or let borrow) to a friend. Allowing them to participate with the decision and the anticipation of getting “new-to-them” books can create excitement for reading.
Let me know your tips for how you have encouraged your children to read and let me know if your children enjoy reading in the car.