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According to the The Children’s Reading Foundation, you should make it a point to be reading with your child for at least 20 minutes a day. Reading with your children at an early age (even in infancy) is key to language development, listening skills, and overall academic performance.
Here are a few great suggestions for how to create the space and time necessary to foster a love of reading in your child!
5 Ways to Find Space for Reading With Your Child:
Keep Books Easily Accessible
I have been to several baby showers lately (especially for second and third children) where the host has requested that we bring books to help build the baby’s library in lieu of a toy or cute onesie. I love this idea for starting your child off with a good number of books, but you’ll want to keep the selection fresh–lest you read, “Goodnight, Moon” for the one hundredth time in a month!
Explore your local library with your child and check out new books frequently. You can also find discounted books at yard sales and school book fairs. If there are a lot of kids in your neighborhood, you may want to set up a lending library. It’s a great way to encourage your child to be a part of a community of readers, too!
Create a Cozy Reading Nook
As adults, we have to make time to read for pleasure. Show your child how wonderful reading time is by creating a cozy reading nook for them. It can be as simple as a dressed up window seat or a repurposed playhouse or backyard tent. You could also convert a rarely used closet by replacing the door with a fun bead curtain and adding a warm light source like a lamp or festive white string lights. Add some pillows and a blanket so they can get comfortable and lose themselves in a good book. You may find yourself trying to squeeze into the space the next time you have a spare hour!
Encourage Interactive Play
Take reading beyond the page to help your child really master the material and develop a love for storytelling by facilitating interactive play. A decorated cardboard box can make a great theater for a puppet show. Talk with your children about the characters in the books they read and have them create puppets out of paper bags and plates, socks, wooden spoons, popsicle sticks and construction paper. The sky’s the limit for this fun craft project that will reinforce your child’s love of reading. Put on a few puppet shows for them to demonstrate how it works and then invite them to join in with you, pretending to be the characters from the books. They’ll have to use their imagination to answer the question, “Pokey Little Puppy, where are you now?”
Take this idea a step further and help shy children build confidence by putting on small plays. It’s a great opportunity for your kids to practice memorization (and when that fails, improvisational skills), and to develop their speaking skills.
Make Reading a Part of Everyday Activities
Stuck in traffic or headed out on a long road trip? Ditch the DVD player and pop in a family-friendly audiobook. Between iTunes and Audible.com, there are opportunities for new lessons every car trip. According to Reading Rockets, listening to audiobooks is tremendously helpful for developing strong reading skills and introduces your child to new genres that they may have not otherwise considered. You might have a burgeoning detective on your hands who will end up pleading with you for the entire Nancy Drew series.
Be Supportive and Patient
Your child probably may not become a bookworm overnight, but encourage all reading. The sports section of the newspaper, comic books, and even the cereal box are all great ways to get kids interested in reading. Celebrate their successes and encourage them when they struggle and you will raise a confident reader in no time.
Guest post by: Danielle Hegedus. For more ideas and inspiration, head to Modernize.com