Did you know March is National Reading Month? Because living books are so very good, every month is all about reading in our house! But in honor of this annual celebration of reading, I thought I’d take some time to share some of my best tips for raising readers.
11 Tips for Raising Readers
Not only do we want to raise kids who can read well – we want them to want to read for years to come, right? Here are some things I’ve found to be really helpful for both teaching reading and instilling a love for reading.
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1. Read to your children from the very beginning.
It’s never too early to start reading aloud to your children. Early reading trains them to love books and to equate reading time with cozy feelings. Hearing you read aloud also encourages early comprehension and teaches children to use inflection when they begin reading on their own.
If you didn’t start early, it’s never too late to begin reading aloud to your children!
2 Read every single day.
A love of reading can be built through a habit of reading. Every day should include reading – whether you read aloud or your children read independently or both!
3. Read from great books.
Your children won’t complain about reading every single day when you (or they) read from wonderful books. In fact, you might just run into the opposite problem – they want to keep reading to find out what happens next!
In a Charlotte Mason homeschool, really good books are called living literature. These are books which draw children in and hold them tight. Sticking with living literature – whether fiction or non-fiction – develops a love for rich, deep, meaningful reading (that transfers into rich writing in the later years. Bonus!)
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4. Listen to recorded books once in a while.
In our home, I begin reading aloud to my children when they are babies and I don’t stop until they head off to college. Seriously. Read aloud time is precious time in our family. Granted, it’s much harder to find the time to read books together in the busy high school years.
Over the years, we also have come to love a different kind of read aloud – recorded books. Listening to books on CD is a great way to spend the miles traveling here and there as homeschoolers! The library is a great source for audio books.
5. Don’t skip phonics instruction.
When beginning to teach children how to read, please don’t skip phonics instruction. Giving your children the building blocks for reading (and spelling) will make SUCH a difference in them learning to read well enough to actually enjoy books!
6. Encourage independent reading with high-interest books.
When you’re ready for young readers to begin enjoying their own quiet time with books (independent reading), motivate them with interesting books.
7. Encourage independent reading with below grade-level books.
New readers might or might not be excited about their own quiet time with books at first. Either way, make sure they are successful by supplying books that are slightly below their current reading level. When they feel confident to read alone, the pleasure factor of independent reading is much more likely to grow than when they feel defeated with books that are just too much work.
8. Have a steady supply of good books available all the time.
If you want to raise a reader, he needs books – and lots of them! Make sure there are books of all types and subjects freely available to your children at all times. Whether you build your own library of good books over the years or keep the shelves full of library books, it doesn’t matter. Just have books.
9. Allow readers to choose their own books – at least some of the time.
As homeschoolers, we tend to assign books to our children for various purposes. We also tend to choose the family read alouds to go along with our school plans. These assigned books will go a long way in raising readers, but free choice in reading selections is also very important. Make sure you are finding time in the busy homeschooling schedule for your children to simply read for their own pleasure some of the time. If they never get to choose their own books, you might notice the growing love for reading begins to fade.
10. Frequent the library often.
There’s no better way to build a book passion than walking into the library and saying, “Here ya go. Almost everything you see can be yours. Go. Search to your heart’s content. We can bring home ten today, then we’ll come back for ten more next week, then ten more the next week.” It’s almost as good as walking into a candy shop and saying the same thing.
11. Talk about books together.
Find common ground in books. When everyone is talking excitedly around the kitchen table about the latest read aloud, you are connecting as a family and building a strong bonds between you and books. “Book talk” is also really good for building comprehension and vocabulary, especially in the younger years.
Please share YOUR tips for raising a reader!
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