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Is your child apprehensive about books? Have they complained that they’re boring? Even if your child hasn’t started school yet, there are ways to get them to love books. By loving books, you can teach your child to love reading before they’ve even started school.
Some of my earliest memories involve visiting our local library. My mother would allow me to check out any book I wanted. We quickly made friends with the children’s librarian. I called her Miss O. She would tell us about events at the library and book clubs. Even though I was too young to actually read the books (I just looked at the pictures), she allowed me to join the book clubs. I often won tickets for my family to visit the local baseball game. Miss O always invited me to children’s story time. I remember the room had lots of stuffed animals.
As I grew older, I rarely missed a summer book club at my local library. I looked forward to getting my card stamped with the number of books I read, then I would have a chance to go through the prize bin to pick out a cheap toy as my reward. I knew the kids in my neighborhood because we would all participate in the many events held at our local library whether it be a movie or craft project.
Why did I share all this? Because they are my earliest memories involving books, and how I became a book lover. My parents never prevented me from reading, even if I was on punishment they wouldn’t take my books away. I had dozens of books stashed around my room and in my bed. I cried when my father made me move them. That’s how much I loved books.
Your child can love books just as much, even in this technologically advanced world. When I started teaching preschool, I was appalled to hear kids say “Books are BORING!” How could that be? I’m sharing some steps that helped me teach my class to love books.
1. Start Early
Your child is never too young to enjoy a good story. I find it funny how children are drawn to you as you read to them. They naturally want to snuggle up and hear the story. Even when your child is an infant and nonverbal, you can still sit them on your lap and read to them. It will have a much greater impact in the long term than you may realize.
2. Choose Books With Real Photography And Bright Illustrations
Even when I was a child, the things I remembered most about my favorite books were the illustrations. I especially loved books with real photography. I felt it was easier to relate to the children I was reading about. Look for storybooks with real photography and get your child a picture dictionary with real photography. This one is one of my favorites.
3. Read To Them Every Day
Don’t be sporadic in your reading time. Schedule for it. Make it special and something that you both look forward to. If you have more than one child, read to them at the same time. It doesn’t have to be at bedtime either. If you want to read to them when they get home from school or while you’re waiting for dinner to cook, go for it!
4. Choose Subjects That Interest Them
As your children start to make choices for themselves, let them choose their own books. This is where trips to the library become fun. Your child has an entire room devoted to books just for them. Take them to the librarian and have them ask for books on a topic that interests them. Then take them home and read them together.
5. Try Audiobooks
Many books now have CD accompaniments with the story read by the author or voice actor. These audio recordings may include music and sound effects to bring the stories to life. The library will most likely have a section of books with audio recordings. Choose a new book or an old favorite and enjoy it in a brand new way. The True Story of the Three Little Pigs is one of my favorites to listen to.
6. Make Use of E-books
Now personally, I still love the old-fashioned feel of a book in my hand. There’s nothing that compares to the binding, pages, and smell (yes, books have a smell). Still, we live in a different time and I can’t deny the convenience of e-books. I can take 20 books with me and no longer look crazy. While you don’t want to rely on e-books exclusively, your child will love having an excuse to hold the tablet. Also, many e-books are interactive in a way traditional books can’t be.
7. Try Reading Apps With Games
As your child begins to learn the alphabet, choose apps that name letter sounds or phonics-based games. When you go over alphabet sounds with them, focus on the sounds letters make rather than the name. For example, B becomes “buh”. As they learn sight words, they will have fun pointing them out in their favorite books.
8. Read Many Alphabet Books
When you recite the classic alphabet, don’t stop there. There are many books on the market that focus on the alphabet and individual letters. Collect different ones and read them with your child. As your child becomes familiar with letters and their sounds, they’ll be well on their way to reading their own stories.
9. Take Advantage of Programs At Your Local Library
Remember when I talked about all the fun I had at my library? It didn’t always involve books. Your child will begin to associate the library with enjoyment. Many libraries have clubs and programs specifically for children, and they cost nothing. These programs allow children to explore different interests and meet new friends. Talk with your children’s librarian to see what’s available for your child.
10. Watch Television Programs Based on Their Favorite Stories
Countless movies have been made based on children’s books. The release of the Peter Rabbit film brought one of my old favorites to life in a way I never would have imagined. I also remember watching the Arthur television show and reading the books to go with it. See what’s available based on your child’s favorite stories. Seeing their favorite characters on television will help raise excitement to pick up the books.