Is it scary that I'm already thinking of Back to School time? As a teacher, I'm headed back in two weeks to set up. I don't talk a TON about what I do career-wise…..but today's post has inspired me. I'm a reading interventionist. So, I work in small groups all day with children who are at least two years behind their grade level. Yup, not something you want to hear as a parent. I've worked as a reading specialist for the second half of my teaching career and have been lucky enough to receive a LOT of training focused on the science and psychology of literacy. So, I wanted to share a couple simple tips today…….and to give all of you 5 ways to encourage reading with kids of any age!
1) Create special experiences surrounding literacy: every few days we have a breakfast picnic in our backyard and read new books. Lydia LOVES it. She screams “READ” and “PARTYYYYYYYY” everytime. The fact that she associates books with a party? A total victory.
2) Allow children (even toddler) to self select books: store books at eye-level and allow children to have free access to their library. Reading should be done with an adult and independently. Yes, even toddler can “read” to themselves. Book exploration and developing an interest in genres and book types should start at a young age. It warms my heart to see Lydia toddle over to her bookshelf, select a stack of books and settle in to read and relax.
3) Plan for a variety of readers: your child should hear someone besides YOU reading to them. Library storytime? YES. Grandma reading? YES. My poor friends when they come over to visit, Lydia now begs them to read to her. But, it's important for children to see that literacy is something that is a priority to everyone…..not just their parents.
4) Create a special place to read: We all have a favorite spot to cozy up with a good book, don't we? It's relaxing, and we love retreating to our special spot. Lydia has her very own mini-couch. She LOVES it. We store a huge stack of books next to it, and after a long play date or trip to the park…..she loves relaxing and unwinding with books in her own special spot.
5) Introduce new and engaging books: Libraries have amazing discount book sales, and garage sales are awesome resource! Trade books with a friend….or just check out new books each week from the local library branch. How do you encourage a love of reading with the children in YOUR life?