I agree that reading to your children is a must. Try reading a little of some book series to them every day before school, but don't try to finish the stories all at once. This will encourage them to learn to read in order to no longer have to depend on you for their stories.
After they've learned to read, make sure some of the more enjoyable classics are available to them, such as "Gulliver's Travels" (the cleaned up version), or "War of the Worlds" or "Treasure Island" or maybe "Dante's Inferno" (ignore Dante's treatises on Purgatory and Heaven, as they'll bore your kids to tears...)
Ok...I was kidding about the last one...but seriously, place these near your kids beds and allow them to stay up as long as they want, as long as they're in bed and reading. I remember having to hide under the covers with a flashlight to read at night, as my parents enforced a strict "light's out" policy. I stayed up and read anyway, so why not simply allow it?...let them read themselves to sleep as though it were their idea.
My dad is the reason I am a reader. Our house was always full of books. He read for knowledge and fun. So did I. Until I reached the age I could read myself, he read nightly to me. When I started reading independently, he picked out the award-winning books in every category and bought them for me. Yet he also took me to the store to buy the latest Nancy Drew book. Moreover, we visited the library weekly, where I couldn't wait until I could borrow more than two books and to borrow from the adult section. My dad never picked out my books for me, but let me browse and make my own choices. No time was off limit for reading books. We read while we ate, waited at appointments, and before bed. Reading was part of our life. Any wonder today I am book blogger?
I also teach. Although most of my curriculum revolves around decoding and fluency practices, I read short stories from anthologies, set aside one day per week for students to read choice books, and encourage them to recommend books to their classmates. No book is ever discouraged. When my students who had previously refused to read any novels came to class with Diary of a Wimpy Kid, I bought the set, set aside time for us to discuss the first book, and celebrated with them the news that a movie was coming out based on the book. I hope that in a little way I influence my students to become readers, even if it never becomes a passion.
In short, example and acceptance are everything.
I should clarify my teaching situation. As a resource teacher, I have only small groups of students and they come to me for only about thirty minutes per day. In that time, my priority is helping them to reach their fluency goals--or to read as accurately and as quickly as their peers. For that reason, most of time with them revolves around reading short approved passages on a daily basis. One of our days together is also taken up with progress monitoring tests, but this is also when I encourage choice reading, peer sharing, journal responses, and other reading activities in which my students have more control.
Plays are definitely a wonderful tool for reaching fluency goals. My students actually perform Reading Theater twice a year. For it, we practice scripts for a couple weeks and then present to parents or teachers. Some of my students readily take to Reading Theater and suddenly start doing homework for me. Others are so shy, they are just waiting for the experience to end. One year we did try turning a fiction passage into a play. Another year, it might be worth trying again.
Hi Kathy, I'm fairly new to the blog world..I recently published "My Life as a WEED..and weeds (words) to live by"
it's tongue in cheek humor and family friendly...regarding children reading my daughter and I have read to her 8 and 6 yr olds since before they were born..They are both, avid readershad library cards since age 3.. as a matter of fact, my grandson age 8 loves to read my old medical books..I'm retired from the medical field so believe me I have plenty of those.anyway we play a game when we read aloud..each of us takes on a character and does the voice we think it should have..the children love to act out the part..then we have a group discussion..sometimes just us 3 and sometimes Mom and Grandpa get involved..this is a great way to teach them to not just say the words but to act out the words..just a thought..kjforce
Read to them and model for them by reading themselves.
I think it's really that simple.
good for you Jon...they will do well in school, trust me..I,m helping raise my 8 year old grandson and 6 year old granddaughter they both love what they call their "quiet time" curled up reading a book and both are A+ students.
kudos to you and your wife...kj
Parents/teachers have got to create excitement about books. My daughter is a lot like me and just naturally enjoys books, but my son came along and is a different story. I had to start searching for books about aliens and underpants to get his attention. It is a lot of work to find books that he will enjoy but it is well worth it. I don't really enjoy reading about Pokemon but when I see the interest and focus that comes over him it makes me want to read these books to him again and again.
I have created a website that has been up and running for about a year now trying to get parents/teachers involved with creating excitement about reading. I encourage adults to read with kids and blog about it. We have had our ups and downs and sometimes I know our readers are reading but are just not into blogging. My kids and I get so excited when we see others on our blog reading the same book as we are or giving us suggestions on what we should read. Please visit if you get a chance.
~ Lauri Chandler
I take my kids to the library every week. I could never afford to buy them a ton of books, especially when we were in college still, but the library is a great source. They can get books with any character you could imagine - and it's fun for the week or two you have it checked out, then you get new ones. Make sure you find books with characters they like - even if they are tv characters. That way the newness never wears off. Also, libraries often have a kids storytime that little kids really enjoy.
Another way is to make special time to read together when they are little. My kids love "story time with mom" as a way to have special time together, and read books that they couldn't read on their own. Involvement I think is really the key.