Getting children interested into the wonderful world of letters, words, and sentences is a difficult job. As a mother of three daughters, I used an entire range of tricks to encourage my daughters to read. This started from an early age, because I was adamant they share in on the world I love. The key was to make it interesting. Once they realized the fun and joy a good story brought, they were hooked. And ever since my girls learned to read, a good book is a thing to look forward to, and always by their side.
Reading to Kids
Even when my kids were babies, I used to read to them. To make it interesting, I would change my voice, use my hands, and act out the story. And even though, they didn’t understand a single word, they found it fun and amusing. Later, when they were still unable to read, the greatest joy of the day were mom’s bedtime stories. Besides being entertained right before bedtime, they learned a couple of new words every night. And I’m certain that’s the reason they now love reading so much.
Kids learn by example every day. They adore imitating grownups, so it is important that you read too. I always had a book by my bedside, but then purposefully shifted to the living room. The girls imitated their mom’s routine, which they found annoying. They would grab any old book from their room to make fun of me, but the joke was on them! They started reading bit by bit, and getting interested in the plot. So, today they shush me, and ask me to come back later, when I interrupt reading time in their room. What a plot twist!
Surround Them with Books
Kids adapt and are influenced by their surroundings as well. And what better way to spark interest into books, than with books around the house. I and my husband made sure that the shelves in their rooms, and around the house are stacked with books. They were always curious about them. In the end, when they learned to read, they picked them up one by one, and finally satisfied their curious nature.
Let Them Choose Their Books
It was important to my kids, when I let them choose the reading material themselves. They got a boost of self-confidence, and were motivation to read more. Regular trips to the book store are now a usual sight in our lives. And because they are kids the first time we went to our local shop, they grabbed the books with the most color. Later, when one of my girls neglected her new book, I knew she learned the valuable lesson of how not to judge a book by its cover. Not only have that, but now all of my girls known what they like. And their shelves are arranged as follows: adventure, romance, and sci-fi.
When one of my girls reads through a chapter, and finds the first part not to her liking, I always motivate them by asking questions about what they have read. With a basic knowledge of the plot from their story, I focus their attention on specific things. I try to make connections with their everyday life, or try to make them think about what the characters are like. And if that doesn’t work, “What do you think will happen next?” is the question that always does the trick.
Create a Reading Corner
In my mind, a great book always needs a great environment, to make the entire experience even more special. So, to motivate my girls, I created a snug little reading corner in their room. I found the inspiration when I saw the amazing alphabet rugs. Quickly, I rearranged the shelves, laid out that amazing carpet, and put in the perfect reading lamp. To make things comfy I got them colorful bean-bag chairs. My youngest learned her letters and words with the carpet, while her older sisters waited on her to master reading. Now, all of my girls spend their evenings snuggled up with a good book, curled up in soft blanket, and a hot cup of coco by their side.
Change the Medium
Sometimes, it is hard to get a hold of a specific book that they heard about, or they simply can’t wait for their turn to read the one copy that we have. When that time comes, we know we are going to find them reading on the laptop or on my husband’s tablet. Since they are kids of the modern age, they are well versed in technology, so a change of scenery is always interesting, and a great motivator. We also found out a great motivator in fun brain games, which offer great child-friendly reading material full of colorful pictures, and even fun, and interactive comic books. Just remember to restrict their time in front of the screen, because sometimes they just lose track of it.
In the end, the toughest job I had was motivating my first daughter. If you make a strong foundation with the first, teaching the others the value of reading will be a piece of cake. Shamefully, I must admit that I only taught her how to read. The other two I didn’t teach a single letter. They skillfully played school, teaching each other how to read. Once they mastered the art of reading, their book club was opened. Ultimately, with my help and a few tricks, they unknowingly opened themselves to a spectacular new world they will enjoy for the rest of their lives.
About author: Tracey Clayton is a full time mom of three girls. She loves cooking, baking, sewing, spending quality time with her daughters and she’s passionate for writing. Her motto is: “Live the life you love, love the life you live.” Find her on Facebook.