Dorothy, we're not in Kansas anymore. Well some of you maybe, but I'm sure you get what I'm saying. For some time our lives are not going to be the same.
We know when times get tough we have to do what we have to do, to make things happen. Also, there will always be people who are willing to help out. We got this!
Parents, you can encourage a love for reading. You can encourage your kids to love reading. Actually, if it starts at home it will carry over to school. I'm actually getting excited thinking about how many kids will learn to love reading because they learned how important it is from their parents. Some will read just because they "needed" something to do. Or, as I've heard in my classroom, "I was bored so I started reading this book." Kids think it's a bad thing to read when they're bored, but it made my heart sing, as a teacher to hear that.
But anyway here are five things you can do to encourage reading at home.
1. Let them choose. - Don't push what you like on them. Give them the power of choice.
2. Read with them. - It doesn't have to be at the same time and it doesn't have to be the same book. Talk about what you're reading and they'll see that you enjoy it, and they will want to know more about it. Believe me, it works. Be honest if you don't like a certain book. Share with them why you don't like it and they may still be interested, but they will learn to choose books they like and discard the ones they don't, with a valid reason. Not just because it's boring, or it's stupid.
3. Try educational Reading Sites - There are some sites that kids can sign up for like Newsela. These sites usually need a teacher to sign them up, so you may have to sign up for a teacher account. It's free (the parent link is below. But sites like this quiz them on what they're reading, they offer high interest articles, and the questions are created by state standards. You can look at your child's progress. Check to see if they have an account with their teacher first, and you won't have to sign-up.
4. Everything is reading. - They can read blogs about games, magazines, sports news. Just ask them about what they're reading. Make sure they can give you a good summary of what they read. (The 5 Ws and H strategy - Who, What, When, Where, Why and How).
5. Have them compare books that were turned into movies. (Let me just say, the book is always better. That's just my opinion). But have them draw a Venn Diagram (two overlapping circles. On the left they write the book's title. In the middle they write the word "same" or "similar", on the right they write the movie title). Starting with the similarities is usually easiest. They will quickly start seeing differences. They should choose at least three. This could then be turned into a Compare and Contrast Essay. I'll write a separate blog for that.
I hope these tips will help you get started. Remember, relax...breathe in...breathe out. Just know that teachers and former teachers are talking. No matter what we love our kids and we still want to see them succeed. Parents you got this!
PS. Kindle Unlimited through Amazon has a 30-day free trial. If you forget about canceling trials you may not want to do this. But if you decide you love it, it's 9.95 after. You can check out books during the summer and keep that love of reading going...And don't forget the library has books online too!
Aisha Brown is a former teacher. She taught middle school for eight years. She now runs the non-profit she founded called The Butterfly Literacy Group. The first program under the organization is GEWL (It sounds like jewel. It stands for Girls Empowered to Write Literature). She is also a self-published author who writes under the name Chrishaun Life).