Loving to read is not something that comes naturally to all children. Sometimes they love to get lost in a book, make connections, predict what will happen next and other times children just want to look at the pictures and be done. I can even see that in both of my own children. My son loves to sit and read books and my daughter enjoys them, but finishes quickly and wants to move on. My son naturally has a love of reading and I have had to cultivate a love of reading in my daughter.
From a very young age, parents can help cultivate a love of reading in their children. But what do we do when they come to us in school and they don’t love to read? When they don’t know what a book is? When they have never been read to at home? How do we cultivate a love of reading?
Surround them with literature that excites them.
When you are reading to them, always with the purpose of modeling what great reading looks likes, sounds like, and how great readers think, but sure to choose literature that excites them. You want them to be glued! You want them to look forward to hearing you read the book!
Be a joyful example.
As a kindergarten and first grade teacher I understand that at times I can be over the top, but it always wins the little ones over. Always. Be joyful about the reading experience. Read with excitement. Introduce the book with excitement. Call them to the carpet for read aloud time with excitement. Talk to them about books you are reading at home with excitement. Mention it often, “Last night I was ready before bed when….” Be a joyful example for them!
Provide ample opportunities.
For the most part, we all have our kids reading each day–maybe it’s in work stations, guided reading, shared reading, whatever it may be. We also are reading to them many times a day. But how often do you allow them to read because they want to read? How much “unstructured” time do they get to read? At the library, make time for them to read their new books. If they finish their work early, allow them to read their books in their book tubs. Provide many opportunities for them to read.
Give them positive experiences.
It’s so easy to want to correct their reading at all times, but don’t. Don’t make them feel like they can’t do it and like they are always messing up. Allow them to feel like they can do it and do it right! Sure, there is definitely a time and place for students to be “guided in their reading” (guided reading), but when they are reading leisurely, let them read. Let them have a positive experience.
Allow them to choose books.
Many times I think I know what my little readers like, but I guess wrong at the beginning of the year. Allow them to choose books they love, even if they are too hard for them. They are excited about the book and can always “read the pictures” to read the book. The goal here is that they have a book in their hands that they are excited about when they can choose their own books!
Helping at Home
Sometimes parents want to help their child love reading, but they don’t know how. Many times I have experienced parents who don’t love to read, but they know how important it is so they do want their child to love to read. I created a printable page that you can share with parents as they journey alongside you to help cultivate a love of reading! Here are some tips that you can share with parents to help them get started on the right track!
click the image above to snag this FREE for your parents
What do you do in your classroom to help cultivate a love of reading? I’d love to know!