Most parents invest a lot of time and energy looking for the latest and greatest ways to help their children succeed. There are gadgets galore and no shortage of activities to engage in. What if you were told there was something that helps to build comprehension and vocabulary skills, stimulates the imagination and expands interests, provides topics for family discussions, and encourages a love for life-long learning? Let’s add that it was easily accessible, widely available and often free.
Does it sound too good to be true? It’s as simple as picking up a book!
Reading for fun and pleasure at all ages promotes all of the above and much more. Studies have shown that reading improves memory, focus and critical thinking skills. Reading fiction has been shown to help children better understand and express their emotions. Children and teens gain knowledge and expand their horizons by choosing different genres and subjects to read about. Social skills and decision making have been shown to be stronger in teens who read for pleasure.
As the school year begins and busy schedules fill each day, it’s more difficult to make time for reading a priority.
Tips for success
Start young and be a good role model: Snuggle and read to infants and young children, make books readily available in the home, let your children see you reading and freely discuss what you’ve read. Consider organizing a book club for older children and teens.
Visit the library and local bookstores regularly: Attend story times and special events and be sure your child signs up for a library card. Make trips to the library a fun event.
Encourage your child to pick any age appropriate material to read: Books, e-books, magazines, comic books, fiction, and non- fiction all “count.” Let the choice be something your child finds engaging.
Consider a reward system for reluctant readers: For example, reading to earn screen time or special treats.
Put aside the technology:
It’s so easy these days to get caught up in TV, computers, video games, phones, and social media. Books can be just as entertaining and much more beneficial.
Visit the Decatur Book Festival this year for inspiration to make reading a priority. Nurturing a love of reading can be the best gift you can give a child of any age. You may be surprised how much you enjoy it also.