Learning to Love Reading

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Learning to Love Reading

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” -Dr. Seuss in I Can Read with My Eyes Shut!

One of the most important ways to get kids to read is to read aloud to them, starting with when they are toddlers. In a recent study, researchers found that children from both English-speaking and Spanish-speaking, low-income families, had better language comprehension and cognitive development if their mothers began reading to them at an early age.

The study, published in the journal, Child Development, looked at the effects of parents reading to young children in more than 2,500 families enrolled in the Early Head Start program. Only half of mothers in the study said that they read to their children daily.

Make reading a daily ritual. It doesn’t have to be costly. That’s why libraries are so important. Start taking your kids to the library when they are little, and let them help you pick out books that appeal to them.

Make library day a special outing, and look for special events for young kids. The best way to get them reading is to find books that they gobble up. Never mind that the books are about sports heroes, or bugs or ghosts and vampires. Freedom of choice is the ticket to getting motivated and excited. Reading a comic book still counts as reading.

Since some kids can be tougher to tantalize, here are some great websites to give you ideas: GuysRead.com, ReadKiddoRead.com, or Oprah’s KidsReadingList. Who has the time might ask all the working moms and dads out there?

Think of all of the time you spend in the car driving kids from one activity to another. Listen to books on tape when you are in the car. Take turns picking out the book that the whole family listens to together.

Given the boost in technology, many kids will prefer to read via the computer or to download e-books to a reading tablet. There was a flurry of concern that the introduction of the e-book would somehow spell the end of reading.

The good news from a recent survey by Pew Research Center shows quite the opposite. Researchers found that forty-one percent of tablet owners and thirty-five percent of e-reading device owners said they are reading more, and not just on e-books. They read more books (in print) too. The new technology opened the floodgates to knowledge and enjoyment.

There was also tremendous concern that public libraries would be closed due to funding shortages. Although some libraries have been forced to cut back their hours, collections overall continue to grow because of increases in the number of audio, video, and electronic book materials.

Many parents aren’t aware that books can be downloaded for free, via their public library, to MP-3’s or I-Pods. Check out books that have been made into movies. Make a practice of reading the book first and then go see the movie together as a family. Talk about how the book and the movie were different and what parts you each liked better. As you read the book, imagine out loud together how the movie might portray a certain scene or character.

Play board games that require reading such as Trivial Pursuit, and if a question or category interests your child, look up more information in books or on the computer. Talk to your kids about why reading is so important. As Dr. Seuss so aptly reminds us, the more we read, the more we know. Reading unlocks the doors to the mysteries of the universe.

Last, but certainly not least, since we all know that kids are more likely to do what we do rather than what we tell them, find times that you can read too! While you are reading the newspaper or a magazine (it’s not only about books), have your kids read to themselves.

Even fifteen minutes a day can make a huge difference. Unfortunately, there are still twenty percent of adults out there who say they haven’t read a book in the last year. If you are a parent, please don’t be one of them.

By | 2017-07-06T17:25:32+00:00 February 5th, 2016|Categories: families, parenting, reading|0 Comments
Don MacMannis, Ph.D. and Debra Manchester MacMannis, M.S.W. are a team both at home and at the office. Married for more than thirty years and parents of two sons, they are psychotherapists who have simultaneously served as directors of the Family Therapy Institute of Santa Barbara. In addition to nationwide lectures on families, they have provided postgraduate training to hundreds of therapists.

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