One of the greatest gifts you can give your children is the gift of reading. According to the National Education Association, children who are read to at home have greater success in their school career (among many other benefits).
With video games, television and toys readily available, it can be difficult to convince a young child to spend quality time with a book. Here are a few ideas to help bring out the prolific reader in your child.
1. Introduce books early.
Simply reading a story and showing your baby pictures in a book can boost their brain activity. Plus, they begin to learn language and the alphabet. Another bonus — they are spending quality and quiet time with you.
2. Make books interesting.
Use a distinct voice for each character. You don't need to be an actor -- simply to vary the tone or pitch of your voice. This will not only keep your child interested but it will make you more engaged, too.
3. Let your child select the books.
By involving them in the process, they take ownership of it. Plus, mom and dad can learn which books most interest their child and tailor their reading choices.
4. Visit the library often.
It's pretty simple — go where the books are. There are so many options at the library that even the most negative child is bound to find something that piques his interest.
5. Ask questions while reading.
Ask them to tell you about the characters in the book. Make up silly back stories about them. These questions might get your child's imagination fired up.
6. Indulge their interests.
If you notice that your son loves fire trucks, borrow a library book about life in a fire house. When the topic is something they care about they'll be more likely to pay attention.
7. Make it a routine.
Set aside time each day to read — like nap time or bedtime. Once the routine is set your child will expect a few stories. Pretty soon, he'll pick up books on his own throughout the day.
8. Not every story is in a book.
Your daughter might want to hear a made-up story rather than one from a book. Ask her to help you with the details of the story so she feels included. The story doesn't have to be a masterpiece but it will get your creative juices flowing as well as hers.
9. Surround them with books.
If they see books in their room and throughout the house, your child will be more likely to pick one up. Make sure there are a bunch of books in their room. Another idea is to ask for books as gifts rather than toys.
10. Set the example.
If your children see you reading, they'll be more likely to do it themselves.
Sure, it's a lot easier to let your kid relax on the couch watching cartoons. But statistics and common sense show that a little bit of quality time reading to your child can pay off with big rewards.