All parents want their children to love reading. It's not always easy. Some kids devour books - and reading as natural as breathing. Others find it more challenging, and view reading as a "required skill" that has no place outside the classroom. How can a parent help foster a love of reading?
First, make reading fun. If your goal is to encourage kids to choose reading as an outside activity, there has to be some motivation. A big mistake parents make is pushing kids to read books that are too hard, too much of a challenge. There is nothing wrong with a 12 year old revisiting a favorite picture book! If your child is hard to motivate, choose a book together that you can take turns reading aloud. It will be fun for both of you.
Parents can be overwhelmed when helping a child choose books. Be open, minded! If you like reading fantasy books, don't assume that's the genre your child will enjoy. Don't force a book on your child. It's fine to encourage kids to try something new. But, if the first few pages do not grab your reader, move on to another title.
The best bargain in town is your local library. You don't need to spend a penny - it's no risk reading! Spend some quality time choosing books with your child. Try out a variety of topics and varying levels of difficulty. Spend a few minutes in a comfy chair in the children's section and see what books appeal to your child the most. You might be surprised how much fun you will have together!
When I visit schools, I tell kids that good readers are not people who can read the fastest, or sound out the biggest words. A good reader is someone who chooses to read and enjoys reading. Reading is not a race or a competition. If you can foster a positive reading experience in your home, you can create a life-long reader.