By Jennifer Levin, Librarian:
How many of us have children who read their designated 20 minutes a night, yet still find reading a chore? As parents, we continue to try and motivate, and fit the reading between other after-school interests, such as sports and video games. We do what we can to encourage kids to pick up a book on their own accord. Most parents have reported that they wish their kids read more for fun, but they aren't sure how to begin.
Some experts believe that reading should have less to do with school and more to do with a life well-lived. According to Daniel Willingham, author of Raising Kids Who Read, "When learning about the world through books becomes a family value instead of a school responsibility, parents are no longer seen as enforcers; instead they are enjoyers." Willingham suggests, "Kids may then absorb the values message, reading is more important to who we are; reading is what we do."
Modeling good reading behavior also works! Children observing Mom or Dad reading and enjoying it can effectively influence children.
Some other tips include:
- Making sure kids have access to books and new reading material.
- Don't control kids' reading! The temptation to "put the hammer down" for page count may only result in pushback and negative reactions. All reading is good, including graphic novels.
- Don't forget that as the parent, you are the cheerleader, not the literature judge. Don't worry if it's not Shakespeare - the point is to show kids that "interesting things are found when you read print."