In a world in which children are busy texting, posting and watching videos, it's important to encourage them to pick up a book instead.
DeNita Carani, owner of College Nannies + Sitters in Buckhead and Sandy Springs, has five ways to help turn your child into a reader.
- Read about what they love - We encourage parents to subscribe to magazines their children enjoy. If your son likes music and your daughter likes soccer, get monthly subscriptions to magazines on those subjects. Your children will look forward to reading every month.
- Put away the timer - Many schools assign reading time based on minutes. Instead of setting such strict parameters, encourage your child to read their book until the next crucial moment. “This encourages children to read for comprehension instead of simply reading for a required amount of time. Talk about what they’re reading. Parents might want to pick up the same book and read along,” Carani suggests.
- Reward reading time - Your child’s school likely has a reward program for reading. Parents can create their own reward system at home. Make a chart that outlines certain reading goals and the corresponding rewards. “You can also make screen time a reward. If your child hasn’t seen a certain TV show or movie, encourage them to read the book first. Once they finish, they can watch the show or movie and compare any similarities or differences,” Carani said.
- Read more than books - Look for magazines, newspaper articles or even online articles. “Our sitters have word search books in their bags they bring to each home. Games like this encourage kids to have fun while promoting literacy,” Carani added.
- Involve the whole family - Consider setting a certain time each night where all phones and tablets are required to go into a basket. Unplugging as a family eliminates distractions and encourages more meaningful conversations around the dinner table. "My daughters have always seen me reading a book,” Carani said. "Setting aside a half-hour every night to read as a family can make a big difference in kids' attitudes toward reading.”