With the Coronavirus crisis in full effect, parents are homeschooling their kids more than ever. Here are some helpful tips on how to motivate and encourage your child to continue reading while schools are closed.
Read to Your Children Often
One of the smartest things you can do to motivate young children and to spark their interest in reading is to participate in the hobby with them in a real hands-on kind of way.
With this approach you are going to be showing them just how exciting the world of reading can be, will start building great literacy habits with your children, and can eventually encourage them to read the stories to you – helping them to grow their vocabulary, communication skills, and literacy abilities all at the same time.
Children are always looking to take behavioral cues from the important adults in their lives, especially at younger ages. When you surround them with a love of books and a real focus on literacy from a young age it’s easy for them to “catch the bug” themselves – transforming them into lifelong and passionate readers.
Have Dedicated Story Time
Another great habit to get into with young children is to find or carve out a dedicated amount of time each and every day (and at the very least each and every week) that you focus on building new literacy skills.
This creates a feedback loop while strengthening the fundamental aspects of literacy, giving children a routine that they can fall into that helps them better grow and develop their skills while they are young.
Maybe wrap this dedicated storytime into a visit to the local library or bookstore (in the future when this is over, not now) have it happens before bath or bedtime, or otherwise make it a big part of their regular routine and before you know it “storytime” will be an essential part of their day-to-day lives – and their literacy rates will skyrocket because of it.
Share Stories All the Time
Regardless of whether or not you, in particular, are a gifted storyteller as a parent, it’s important to have a real love, a real passion, and a real appreciation for stories and their power as a form of communication – and you’ll want to get your kids hooked on stories as much as you can.
Do your level best to make books come alive, acting out certain scenes, adding funny voices, and really helping to add an extra layer to the written word that children can get sucked into. Take field trips to explore the same kinds of locations highlighted in a child’s favorite books and find fun ways to fold these characters, these moments, and the stories into their lives whenever you have an opportunity to do so.
Don’t be shy about sharing or making up stories yourself, too. If you can weave them into themes that are being shared through the books they are reading and that you are reading with them that’s great, but even just a general storytelling passion will get kids excited about finding their next favorite story between the covers of new books.
Celebrate Great Authors
It’s easy to get kids excited about reading when you celebrate their favorite authors and their favorite writers, finding ways throughout the year to really plant milestone flags down that draw attention to these books, to the stories, and to the people behind them.
Maybe you choose the birthday of Dr. Seuss to throw a themed party, or maybe you find an important day or an important time in the favorite stories of your children to celebrate, too.
The important thing is to again really make these stories and these books real, tangible, and of importance to young lives that are going to be overloaded with stimulus on a pretty much nonstop basis.
Flood Kids with Books
It’s impossible to give a child too many opportunities to read, too many opportunities to learn, and too many opportunities to grow – but you want to make sure that you are flooding them with as many “raw materials” as necessary to skyrocket their literacy.
Amazon has made it effortless to get your hands on a mountain of books in just a few days, but programs like those run by Dolly Parton guarantee that every child has an opportunity to get a flood of new (free) books on a regular basis to fall in love with.
Secondhand bookstores, eBay, library sales, and the library, in general, all open up endless opportunities to make sure that children have all the books they could ever want and then some.
It is important, though, to find books that aren’t just “at their level” when looking to raise the literacy of your children. Pick books every now and again that force them to stretch, which compel them to increase and improve their vocabulary, and that may even represent a bit of a challenge for them to overcome.
At a time when kids have more free time than ever, it’s important to choose set up a schedule and pick specific times for reading so your child still continues to strive towards their education.