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Helping your child enjoy reading

A love for reading enriches lives in many ways; learning new things, facts about a favorite subject, gaining knowledge to enhance a craft, and even developing new interests. How can you encourage a love for reading in your child? Amanda Gordon, Curriculum Specialist at The Christ School, offers tips for parents to encourage a love of reading.

  • Helping your child enjoy readingRead to your young child often. When your child can read on their own, take turns reading the chapters.
  • Talk about the books together. Go to the bookstore or library and pick out books together – make it a fun activity!
  • Reading doesn’t always mean reading a novel. Maybe your child enjoys reading a certain type of magazine; this is still reading! If your child loves cartoons, you can introduce stories like Captain Underpants or Dogman. If they find a silly story on the back of a cereal box, let them read it. Let your child who likes putting things together read the user’s manual. Anything with words can be reading content, even street signs!
  • Give books as gifts. Find fun books about topics that interest your child, and share your excitement about the gift.
  • Research movies that are based on books. Have the child read the book first, and as a reward, take your child to the movie.
  • If a child is reading a book that is too difficult or boring, let him or her quit reading it and find something new. Reading shouldn’t be a chore. If you are forcing children to read something they don’t enjoy, they won’t enjoy reading. Don’t feel like your child has to read to the end of the book “just because.”

What if your older child hasn’t caught the reading bug? How can you encourage a love of reading at this stage?

  • Ask your older child to pick out a book and read it to younger siblings. By choosing the book, he or she will be interested in reading it.
  • Find a compelling series so that after your child is finished with the first book, he or she will want to find out what happens in the next one.
  • Find reading materials (not necessarily a book) that will help your child pursue their passions.
  • Have your child ask his or her friends what they are reading. Take your child and a friend to the bookstore or library and get a book for both of them.

“A love of reading can be developed by reading all types of things,” says Mrs. Gordon. “When you are an avid reader, your mind becomes open to new ideas beyond things you already know. The sky is the limit!”

Amanda Gordon currently serves as the Curriculum Specialist and High School Transition Coordinator at The Christ School. She has worked as a reading specialist in various capacities including literacy teacher for elementary students, intensive reading teacher for middle school students, and reading coach in middle school. She has also served as a Middle School Curriculum Resource Specialist and Instructional Coach. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education with a K-6 Reading Endorsement from Central College in Pella, IA. She is certified in Middle Grades English, Reading K-12, and English for Speakers of Other Languages K-12. She is also a National Board Certified Teacher, specializing in English Language Arts.

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