“I Love to Read Month” is an annual monthly celebration of the joy of literacy. This is a great time to encourage reading and writing with the little ones. The Reading Council of Greater Winnipeg has chosen “Joyful Reading in a New World” as the theme of 2021, and with good cause! It has been a difficult past 12 months for all of us, so why not focus on some of the positive!
To Read… or Not to Read
How do you inspire reading and not add any pressure so that reading stays as something your children enjoy? Most parents want their children to excel at all that they endeavour to do, but sometimes what might have come easily to you does not come as easily to your kids (or vice versa). Here are some ways to keep reading fun while still being supportive.
Don’t expect a full Shakespearean recital on Day 2. Everyone has to start somewhere. If that looks like you reading to your kids for 5 minutes before bed, or listening to 15 minutes of an audiobook together, then that is good enough. Yes! Audiobooks count, so those kids (or parents) that loath reading can participate too!
ENCOURAGE FUN CHALLENGES
There is always strength in numbers. Maybe there is a way to encourage the whole family to join in a month-long reading challenge that culminates in a celebratory trip to get ice cream. Or maybe each family member can take turns discussing their favourite book over dinner. Also, reading isn’t just for home time, practice reading menus, road-signs, movie names or game instructions, these are an excellent way to show that reading happens everywhere. There are many ways to inspire the desire to read in your children and still allow for fun to creep in!
Not all of us develop at the same rate. For families with multiple children or multiples (hello twins & triplets!) everyone is different. Be sure to offer support and kind words if a child struggles. Audiobooks can be a good start, or maybe you read to your child, again, there are ways to make this a positive experience. Even if reading doesn’t end up being their cup of tea, they won’t hate it down the road.
CREATE THE RIGHT ENVIRONMENT
Some of us read before bed, some enjoy a morning newspaper with our coffee and some only read the instructions that come with an IKEA couch. Set up a spot in your house to create a space your children can be comfortable and settle into their book, maybe that’s a cozy chair in the family room, a bean bag chair in their bedroom or a hammock (not great for winter unless you are very hardy) in the backyard. It helps to have lots of books on hand, so stock up your home library with a variety of reading levels and genres. If you don’t want to break the bank there are a lot of second-hand options available. You could even start up a book swap with some of your friends with similarly-aged children.