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How to Explore Reading with Your Kids

By Sandy Schroeder

Sometimes as a parent, when my kids were growing up, I had to step back to see what they needed most. But one of the things that was always on the list was reading. As a child, I grew up reading, and I wanted to share that joy/power with them.

I wanted them to be able to navigate in the world of words. Today, in a busy digital world, words matter more than ever. Teaching your child to read well can help them open whatever door they choose. One child may want to read about inventions. Another child may want to read about the countries he wants to see. And another may want to read poems and storybook tales. Their future is theirs to explore. 

Having books at home, reading with them, and to them, and taking them to bookstores and libraries can show them just what’s out there.

Keeping reading positive is crucial. Kids are naturally curious. Let them pick books that attract them. When they are beginning to read, let them move at their own pace.

Read To Them - Make books part of their life from the very beginning, with cloth or sturdy board books with lots of pictures. Sit with them at bedtime and enjoy the pleasure of being with them and reading to them. No matter how chaotic the day, that reading time at night can be a magical way to close the day. 

Read With Them – Choose books together and continue to read with them as they read in school. You can pick books at the same level that fit their interests, reading them together at home. Take turns reading a sentence or a paragraph. This helps you see how well they are reading and helps to expand their vocabulary.  Always choose books they enjoy. Never make this time feel like homework.

Explore Book Sources - The library near me has a special children’s section that’s filled to overflowing with books, posters, aquariums, and other great props like stuffed animals and comfortable little chairs. Many bookstores offer similar cozy little areas to encourage reading.  Both libraries and bookstores offer all sorts of digital material and access too. Make both spots regular stops to underline their importance.

Providing small bookshelves in their rooms for their favorite books, and allowing them access to your bookshelves when they get older, delivers the same message. Reading is important. Seeing you read, curled up in front of the fireplace, or comfortably seated on the patio, delivers its own message. Reading is fun.

However it works at your house, if you are both enjoying reading, go with it. Reading can be a lifelong skill/tool/joy that will serve your kids well.

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