America has a reading problem. According to the National Institute of Literacy, 14 percent of Americans cannot read and 21 percent of adults read below a grade five level. considering that reading is vital to academic and business success, these statistics are appalling.
Given these numbers, it’s more important than ever to instill an early love of reading in children. Here are few suggestions to give your child a lifelong gift: the gift of reading.
It’s never too early to start reading to children. Board books help teach very young children basic concepts such as shapes, colors, and letters, while forming a link between reading and comfort, love, and togetherness. Early reading has a measurable impact on academics as well: kids who are read to at an early age do better in educational settings.
Make Reading a Daily Routine
Bedtime stories are popular for a reason—they offer a chance to cuddle up with mom and dad and share an activity together, and they’re also a comforting routine.
Making reading part of a child’s daily routine from a young age has long-term benefits. children who read at least twenty minutes a day score in the 90th percentile on standardized tests.
Make Reading Special and Fun
You can lead a child to a book, but you can’t make him read unless he enjoys it. Offer children plenty of reading choices, and allow them to pick age-appropriate books. Make trips to the library a regular part of life, and ask librarians if they have reading programs or Story time events for young readers and pre-readers. Surprising kids with customized books is another way to make reading fun—what child wouldn’t like to be the hero of their very own story?
Chapter books can intimidate young readers who are used to shorter stories. Introduce chapter books at a young age by reading a chapter a night to young children, leaving them eager to hear the next part of the story. Older kids and parents can take turns reading chapters and then talking about what happened in the book.
Reading: More than Just Books
Much as we love books at I See Me, we’re willing to admit you can find plenty of other opportunities to encourage reading. Comic books, magazines, the internet—even closed captioned television can be used to encourage reading.
In moderation, video games can play a role in encouraging your child to read. Some games require players be able to read to understand the story or use in-game objects, giving the child a motivation to improve reading ability.
Be a Role Model.
Finally, remember children mimic their parents. If you’re reading, your child’s more likely to grow up to be a reader. Some families have set time put
aside for quiet reading, when all electronics and televisions are turned off, and the family reads.
Despite our increasingly electronic age—or because of it—reading remains an important skill. Give your child a love of reading, and you make an investment in their educations, their careers, and their imaginations.