Here’s the ultimate question when it comes to contemporary learning: “how do I get my child to put down their electronic device and pick up a book?” In a time where children are bombarded with visual stimulation, applications, phones, and the television, many parents have given up trying to inspire their kids to read. Believe it or not, it’s not as hard as you may think….you might just have to get a little creative!
Many parents feel overwhelmed with the idea of reading with their children, because the process may feel forced and often has a tremendous amount of pressure attached to it. The truth is, when too many expectations are put on children during the reading process, reading loses its joy. Sure, allowing your child to use an electronic device is easy, and enjoyable for them, but nothing beats a good book for learning.
Here are five ways you can help your electronic-addicted child choose a book:
- Model your own love of reading on a daily basis.
Treat every book with love and care, and let your kids see your joy and excitement from reading. Show them how excited you are about what’s happening in your book, and try to make a connection to something relevant in their life.
- Find ways to bring books to life for them.
Children are often visual and kinesthetic learners. Help your children experience books. For example, if you are reading about the farm, take them to see a farm and animals in person. If you are reading about the forest, take them out into nature to see, feel, hear, and experience a similar setting.
- Read books out loud to your child often.
Read to your kids even if they are already fluent readers. Hearing stories over time read by a parent in a meaningful context is one of the best ways to instill a love of reading and storytelling. Read to them in bed, on the couch, in the bath….it doesn’t matter where, it only matters that you do it.
- Read in unconventional ways.
Stand, bounce on a ball, walk and read, read small snippets of a magazine, take a look at a recipe, read the scores of a game, draw pictures and build a story together; all of these will pique your child’s interest in reading wherever they go. Read one paragraph of any type of book, then make a picture collage. Whatever it takes, just keep it fun and enjoyable, and break it down into small chunks.
- Listen to Audiobooks.
Listening to audiobooks is not cheating! Your children can really benefit from listening to a great book. Kids can listen to audiobooks in the car on a trip, or on the way to practice. Audiobooks are a fabulous way for kids to learn about fluency, intonation, meaning, and expression.