Since I could sound out words, I’ve Ioved to read. My mother took me to the library once a week, and I’d check out a bag full of books. I was thrilled when my two oldest kids also became book worms. But then baby number three came along, and the script was flipped. My youngest was a good student, but read for fun? No way, José. I had to get creative to convince him to join our family reading circle. Here are some tactics that helped get him turning those pages.
📚Read Aloud - From the time I brought my babies home from the hospital I read to them daily, and I continued the habit up through middle school. Reading aloud with children not only increases their vocabulary and comprehension, it also causes them to associate books with warm family memories. As kids get older and start requesting longer stories, alternate reading chapters with them. It’s a win-win, bonding time and reading practice.
📚 Seek Out Books With Diverse Storylines And Characters – Twelve percent of children’s books published in 2019 featured Black children, and less than half of those books were written by Black authors. When kids see characters like themselves in books, they find them relatable and are more likely to want to read. Since books by Black authors aren’t widely available in the mainstream it’s important that parents seek these books out through book fairs and subscription services like those offered by My Well Read Child.
📚Let Them Choose Their Books – Often kids don’t like reading because the classic and literary-type books they are assigned in school or gifted on holidays “are boring,” or don’t hold their interest. Whenever possible, let children choose their own books. Encourage them to try a variety of genres: nonfiction, autobiographies, historical fiction, adventures, mysteries, poetry, or even graphic novels or comics.
📚Give Incentives – Many popular books have movie or television adaptations that you could view with your child as a reward after they finish reading a book. Have them create a reading log of 10-15 different book genres (i.e. a book about sports, a poetry book, a book set in modern times, a science fiction book, etc.) and give them an agreed upon treat or special surprise after they complete the log.
📚Start A Book Club – Gather a group of friends for monthly, virtual, or in-person book clubs when it’s safe. Serve fun snacks, do crafts related to the book, and let the kids select books and lead a discussion about what they’ve read. Or join the My Well Read Child Book Club.
📚Read A Series – If kids find a book series they connect with, they generally go on to read all the books in the series. Help them choose a book series to read with you or their friends.
📚Set An Example – How often do you read? Seeing you relax with a good book may
encourage your child to join in. Designate at least 20 minutes of family reading time a day to establish a habit.
More About The Author 👇🏾
Tonya Duncan Ellis is author of the bestselling Sophie Washington illustrated children’s book series, geared toward readers ages 8-12 and is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI).