Expert tips for getting children into regular reading routine at home separate from schoolwork
NEW YORK, Aug. 30, 2016 – As millions of children across the U.S. end their summer vacations and head back to school, parents are getting ready to ease their kids back into the school-year routine of homework, extracurricular activities and going to bed at a reasonable hour. Raising A Reader, a national nonprofit organization that provides resources and guidance for families to implement home-based literacy routines, suggests as part of that routine, parents work in regular time to share books with their children above-and-beyond their required schoolwork.
Research shows that the time caring adults spend sharing books with children has a direct relationship on their academic success. Whether building background knowledge and vocabulary, comprehension skills, social and communication skills or reinforcing the idea that reading is not just something associated with school, home book-sharing routines are essential to childrens’ success.
“During the school year, many families become so consumed with schoolwork that the habit of sharing books for pleasure seems like an unnecessary distraction,” said Gabrielle Miller, Ed.D., president and CEO of Raising A Reader. “Parents need to remember it is more important than ever to find a few minutes each day to keep the reading habit alive. Aside from the innumerable cognitive, academic and social benefits, children begin to understand that reading for pleasure actually helps improve their success in school and in life.
Here are some tips for parents to make reading a larger part of the school year:
- Talk with your child about his or her interests, watch what he/she is drawn to and help find books about those subjects. If your child in interested in horses, for example, find fiction books that tell exciting stories about horses and nonfiction books that will provide interesting facts and information your child might enjoy. Just because a child does not like to read fiction does not mean he/she isn’t a reader.
- Look for opportunities to connect reading with what your child is learning in school. Help them make connections they might not otherwise see. Stories about sharing, caring and giving relate to the math he/she may be learning or folk stories from other countries can help deepen understanding of geography. Doing this will not only encourage a continued interest in books but also can inspire your child to take more of an interest in subjects he or she is studying.
- Make sure to allow your child to still have free time to do whatever they want to do. It’s important reading not be viewed as more homework or punishment.
- Ask your child’s teachers about books they recommend and develop a suggested reading list for the school year. Oftentimes teachers can suggest books their students have enjoyed in the past and these recommendations can mean the difference between your child embracing reading or viewing it as a chore. Find out wat books other kids have enjoyed.
- Challenge yourself to find opportunities to share books with children that don’t make hectic schedules even worse. Traveling on public transportation offers a great opportunity. Reading while cooking dinner (recipe books are great) or a few minutes at the end of a meal before everyone runs off. Set the DVR to tape family TV shows and spend some time together sharing a book instead.
Raising A Reader is a 501c3 charitable organization dedicated to helping families develop, practice and maintain literacy habits for children ages 0-8 that are critical for a child’s success in school and in life. The program is evidence-based, with more than 32 independent evaluations showing that Raising A Reader significantly improves language and literacy skills, cognitive development, communication and comprehension skills, school readiness and social competence. Raising A Reader is implemented through a network of community partners that comprise more than 2,500 locations across the country including public school systems, libraries, afterschool programs, community agencies and other organizations both public and private. Headquartered in Redwood City, California, Raising A Reader was founded in 1999 and has served more than 1.25 million families nationwide. More information is available at RaisingAReader.org, @RARnational (Twitter) and RaisingAReaderNational (Facebook).