This is a guest post from Hank McKinsey. Hank was one of my first blogging friends and an overall great guy.
Many studies have shown that children who enjoy reading tend to perform better in school. While some kids may never enjoy reading, there are a few ways you can encourage your child to read, and perhaps even instill a love of reading in them.
Benefits of reading include: mental stimulation (which reduces risk of Alzheimer’s and other degenerative brain diseases), knowledge, reducing stress, better memory and vocabulary, increased analytic skills, better focus and better writing skills.
If you want to encourage your child to enjoy reading, here are a few simple ways to add reading time into your child’s day:
Make Books Accessible:
One of the simplest ways to encourage children to read is to provide access to books. You can even introduce your toddler to reading by providing fabric books for them to play with.
Many parents think that books should be kept neat and pretty, so they store books up on high shelves away from little fingers. While you should keep your books away from little hands, don’t put their books out of reach. Pages will get torn, and probably colored on, but they will know what a book feels like and how to turn the pages and study the pictures.
Read to your children:
Begin reading to your kids when they are young. Read stories out loud while you are feeding your infant, take your toddlers to story time at the library and introduce age appropriate books as they grow. You don’t have to spend an hour a day reading with your children, a story or two at bedtime and another one or two throughout the day is plenty.
Take your kids to the library:
When your children begin to get older and develop interests in dinosaurs or princesses or pirates, encourage them to look for more information on their favorite topic in a book. Your local library has a wide variety of books, and they can even get books from another branch if they don’t have what you are looking for.
Have a designated quite time during the day:
Set time aside for your little ones to sit quietly or sleep each day. As your kids get older you can use this time for reading. Let them pick whatever they want to read- a magazine, comic book or novel. Encourage them to read about things that interest them. You can even use this time to relax or delve into your reading material.
Help your child choose age-appropriate reading material:
Many children get discouraged with reading because they choose books that are too difficult. If you notice your child struggling, help them find an easier book. You may even opt for books on tape to entertain your kids in the car.