5 Ways to Enjoy Books with Your Kids
If you are looking for simple ways to foster a love of literature in your children, allow me to share 5 simple ways we sprinkle books throughout our home and life!
1. Pre-order high quality books at your library! I cannot emphasize this step enough. Not all books are created equal - there are some pretty terrible ones out there (they might have pictures of barbies or Disney characters on the front and will be filled with the worst plot lines imaginable!) Since it is almost impossible to keep track of all your kiddos in the library while also scanning books for beautiful language and illustrations, save yourself the trouble and pre-order books from trusted book lists. My favorites are Honey for a Child's Heart and readaloudrevival.com.
Once you have a few stacks of high quality, age-appropriate literature in your home, here are a couple fun ways to engage with them:
2. Have a picture book pile-up or picnic! Kids of all ages love quality picture books so this activity can include the whole family. Snuggling up with great books is a quick and joyful way to "reset" if school isn't going well or someone is struggling emotionally etc. And giving something a fun name creates a little more excitement for everyone. When the weather is nice we pack a snack, a picnic blanket and 4-5 books and head out to our backyard or a nearby park and enjoy the fresh air and the lovely stories. During winter months or rainy days I'll call out "picture book pile-up in 5 minutes!" and everyone will come pile on the bed or couch or a nest we've made out of blankets and pillows on the floor. Everyone feels better after a book break!
3. Provide incentives for your independent readers to read classic and/or educational literature. My sons both love to read, but if I allowed it, they might stick to a small diet of "Big Nate" or "Captain Underpants" books and we can't have that! There are many ways to "reward" kids for reading so you will have to think about what works best for your crew. Our family is going with cold, hard cash this year :) Because we don't give our kids an allowance, we've decided to pay them to read great books. Both boys have a list of 10 books that they can read at their own pace. Whenever they finish a book they give a short written or oral report and once they finish their entire list they get a substantial amount of cash (substantial at least to a 7 and 9 year old.) We also have a basket that I have recently started referring to as the "Bucks for Books Basket". Anytime they want to make a dollar or two they can pick any book from this basket and read it. Here is a picture of some of the current contents:
4. Tea, Poetry and Picture Studies. About once a week I try to bake a special treat and we get out the fancy tea cups and read poetry and look at famous art and lift our little fingers and all that. We fancy. Or at least we pretend to be for about 10 minutes!
5. Family Read Alouds. I have been reading chapter books aloud to the kids since they were itty bitty. We keep track of the titles in a notebook and every time we get 10 books read we celebrate with a special outing. I find the best time to read aloud is while they are eating lunch but if your kids aren't home at the lunch hour, bedtime or after dinner might be a great time to sneak in 10-15 minutes of reading. I have been amazed to see how a few minutes of reading each day really adds up over the years! We are currently working on our 85th chapter book together!
Of course, in order to successfully foster a love of reading in our children they need more than just books, they need margin and quiet. To read about how we build that space into our lives you can check out the following articles:
May your home be filled with books and your kids be filled with stories!
Happy reading, friends!