"There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world. Love of books is the best of all."
The love of reading is one of the greatest gifts we can give our children. Children who read well succeed in school and in life. They have better language skills and a better sense of the world.
Here are eight tips that can empower kids to become super-readers.
- The most effective way to raise good readers is to read aloud with your children. Reading aloud stimulates language development. Begin at birth and keep reading together through grade school. Brain imaging shows that reading aloud to young children literally wires brain cells together in networks that facilitate independent reading.
- Read with your kids, not to them. Use your voice and your tone and the way you say the words to engage your kids in the story. Stretch your child’s imagination. Encourage her to think beyond the words written on the page. Ask open-ended questions and draw on teachable moments.
- Reading is about language. Talk often with your children. Encourage them to share their thoughts and develop their ideas.
- Be a role model for your kids. Love to read. Your kids will see that you value books and treat them with respect. Set aside time for yourself to read each day. Kick-start those little, grey cells. Try out a new genre or subject you haven’t explored before.
- Start a home library for your kids, even if it’s just a few shelves. Children develop more positive attitudes toward reading and learning when they have greater access to books and printed materials.
- Make frequent trips to the library. Teach your kids how to find and select books. If you need help, the Children’s Librarian will assist you.
- Take your kids to a book-signing event that features a favorite children’s book author. Ask your school to invite one of our amazing local authors to class. Writers enjoy talking with kids and hearing them share their own story ideas.
- Create a fit, active lifestyle at home. Over the past decade, numerous adult studies have discovered a direct link between fitness and healthy brain function. The connection is true for children as well. A study by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign found that children who are physically fit have “faster and more robust neuro-electrical brain responses” than their less-fit peers. Fit children also have better language and cognitive skills.
So turn off the TV and scoot the kids outside to play. Run and tumble and dance with them when you can. You’ll laugh more. Bike along Alki and hike our West Seattle trails together. Play every day. Your family will be fitter and you just might be a little smarter.
K.J. Larsen’s Cat DeLuca Mysteries, are published by Poisoned Pen Press. Larsens’ debut novel, Liar Liar, was awarded Library Journals Best Mystery, 2010. Liar, Liar, Sticks and Stones, and Some Like It Hot are available at the Seattle Mystery Bookstore and on Amazon. Cat’s fourth adventure, Bye Bye, Love, will be released April 2015