Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Guest Post by Lynn Kertell: Nourish Your Child’s Love of Reading

Today’s post is from Lynn Kertell, the author of the many Bob Books I featured in Monday’s Books post.  I asked Lynn to share her many ideas for how to strengthen a child’s love of reading. Thank you Lynn for sharing your ideas with us.

Nourish Your Child’s Love of Reading
Lynn Kertell, Bob Books
The creative process is an interesting thing. People may not realize that most creative efforts do not spring forth fully formed – but rather are influenced by environment, current events, personality, background, temperament, belief system and knowledge.
We at Bob Books believe that reading and books are one of the best lifelong gifts you can bestow upon a child. Toward this end, we have a few tips to you can use towards nourishing your child’s love of learning and books.

1.  Read to your child every day. Who doesn’t love a great story? From babies to older kids, any time spent reading to a child is quality time. Research shows that even just 20 minutes per day can build early literacy skills, promote bonding, and increase listening and attention spans – all necessary skills for school and for life.

2.  Share your love of books by taking your children on a trip to a public library or bookstore, keeping books in your home and providing opportunities for your kids to see you enjoying reading – whether a daily newspaper, a magazine, the latest sci-fi thriller or an e-book download. Lead by example.

3. Make it a game. Reading and books are fun! Play around with language by coming up with on-the-spot games like “tell me everything you can think of that starts with the letter P…” sending the kids on a word treasure hunt around your house, tell a story using flash cards, have them stir up some alphabet soupor sort shapes – all of these activities are easy (and basically free). The best part is that you’ll be helping them develop important pre-reading skills without your child even being aware of it.

4. Exercise patience. Refresh yourself on how to identify the signs of when your child is ready for reading , and introduce new concepts gently at your child’s pace. When your child first begins to take steps into reading, allow them the time to figure out concepts on their own and ask you for help. If your child is interested, pays attention, interacts with the book, and seems to have an idea of what you mean, then you are on your way to reading. If your child is wiggly, disruptive or gets frustrated easily, they may not be ready. Put the books away for a few months and try again later. Children learn at different rates. It is important to find your child’s rate, rather than your own, if you want your child to have a happy reading experience.

5. Praise often. There’s nothing more exciting than witnessing a child grasp reading concepts – when the words come alive on the page and the child makes the connection between letters and the sounds they make and then how letters form words that tell a story that they can read all by themselves! Offer plenty of praise for every milestone (big or small) and keep encouraging (not pushing) your child to gently progress to the next level. Here is a great video example showing some techniques you can use at home.

6. Keep going! We have some book recommendations for children who have “graduated” past Bob Books Set 5 and we are also proud to announce our new series of Bob Books Level 1 Early Readers. For school-age children whose reading level has exceeded early readers and short chapter books, now is a great opportunity to talk to a teacher, librarian or bookstore owner and get even more recommendations. If your child is “stuck on a genre,” encourage them to go outside the genre and read in other topic areas that interest them. See if you can join a Mother-Daughter Book Club (or a Father-Son Book Club or any variation thereof) as this is yet another great way to share the joys of reading as a family. If you don’t have one in your area, think about starting one!

I hope you will check out the Bob Books website and Monday's post. Be sure to leave a comment on either today's post or Monday's to enter the Early Readers giveaway. Two books will be sent to a lucky winner!

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