The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

October 17, 2012

Create a love for reading

By Marianne Bright for the SNAP
SNAP

Wednesday, October 17, 2012 — Breathtaking. Side-splitting. Awe inspiring.

What if your children immediately associated these words with reading? When children realize that reading is an adventure, a whole universe of possibilities blossoms for them.  

With the school year well into its third month and progress reports on the horizon, many local families have been experiencing nightly reading as part of their children’s homework routines. To help parents encourage their kids to complete this assignment, Sylvan Learning-Albemarle offers some suggestions on how to make reading fun and how to inspire children to develop a lifelong friendship with books.

Oh say can you say? Read aloud with your children. Reading aloud is right up there with eating chocolate in terms of pleasures: It’s never too early for it, and there’s no such thing as “too much.” Reading to young children nurtures an interest in language, words and communication. For older kids, reading together can be fun and interesting. As reading aloud becomes a routine, it will not only help develop your children’s reading skills, but will also create a basis for ongoing discussion.

I can lick 30 tigers today. Wrangling your children’s schedules can feel like wrestling tigers. But making the time to read every day — even for just 10 to 15 minutes — is worth taming a tiger or two. It establishes reading as a regular, daily habit.

One book, two books, red books, blue books. From baseball cards to comic books, children have always been natural collectors. Encourage your children to create their own treasure trove of books. By encouraging the creation of a personal library, you invite your children to create a magical kingdom that’s right at their fingertips.  Turn book collecting into a treasure hunt: look for books at yard sales, Stanly County Library’s bi-annual book sale, at the grocery store and wherever else you can find them.

Why did the Cat in the Hat cross the road? To get to the riddle book on the other side. Children enjoy riddles and jokes that rely on wordplay. Laughing together at clever jokes and riddles can make a Saturday trip to soccer or hockey practice more enjoyable and memorable. Next time you’re at the library or dollar store, bring home some giggles to read together.

Oh, the thinks you can think. As anyone who has read a Dr. Seuss book knows, words can be fun. Turn vocabulary from a grind to a giggle by creating word games. Compile a word list, or ask your children’s teachers for a word list and make daily or weekly vocabulary games.

And to think you saw that word on Mulberry Street. As you zip about town, learn new words on the road. Every trip, regardless of the distance, presents creative opportunities to introduce new words to your children. From billboards to street signs, words are hanging out on every street corner, just waiting for you to drop by.

My Book … By Me. Encourage your children to write original stories and illustrate them with their own drawings. It’s a great way to increase comfort and familiarity with words.

Oh, the places you’ll go. The Internet is a gold mine of great websites that provide reading lists for children. Visit Book Adventure, a free Sylvan-created interactive, reading, motivational program at http://www.BookAdventure.com. Students choose their own books from more than 8,500 titles, take short comprehension quizzes and redeem the points they earn for small prizes.  

Encouraging children to read helps transform reading from a chore to a treat. Then, this basic skill becomes a learned behavior and an intellectual habit. Among reading’s benefits, many research studies have found that children who are read to or who read on their own at home do better in school.

Reading is one of life’s most important pleasures, as well as a vital part of education. By encouraging your child to pick up a book, you are helping him take the first step toward a lifelong love of reading, success and learning.