It being the last day of the year - of the decade - it's a good time to set Reading Resolutions. Continue to follow Jen's fabulous series on Tips for Growing Bookworms and make this the year - and the decade - that you...
1. Establish a Reading Ritual
The easiest way to keep reading in your child's life is to schedule it with as much regularity as dinnertime. Sure, it seems easier to fit in books whenever it works - and that's not to say that reading can't have some time in the quiet moments of the day. But what tends to happen, especially as the kids get older, is that other activities slowly crowd out books. Scheduling reading time for the end of the day keeps it important and keeps it happening.
2. Expand Reading Choices
I suspect that one of the reasons that parents become less invested in reading time is that they get bored. Hey, I've been there. I've done the tenth reading of Pinkalicious. One of the things that helped me through twelve years of reading time is keeping it interesting for me by expanding our reading choices. The easiest, cheapest way to do this is go to the library. I definitely believe that kids should choose their own books, but I also believe that parents should pick a few titles too. Use our suggestions here at Booklights. Print out some of the "Best Of" lists, and make your way through them during the next year. (My favorite lists for children's literature are The Cybils shortlists, School Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, and Association for Library Services for Children.) Ask the librarians for some new books that they've enjoyed. Along with exposing your child to many different kinds of books than what you might select yourself, you will keep the reading time engaging and interesting for you. Who knows, you might even learn something new.
3. Model Pleasure Reading
Okay, here's the one where I - and Jen - give you permission to do what you probably haven't been doing enough - reading books for fun. If you're like most of the moms I know, you save your own reading time for the very end of the day after the chores, the carpooling, the ballet/karate/music class when you're so exhausted that you fall asleep with latest Grisham book on your lap. Well, no more. I'm telling you to read during the day, perhaps in the actual presence of your child. I know it sounds crazy. But sometimes the dishes - and yes, even your kid - can wait. Kids interrupt adults' reading because we subtly train them to. We wouldn't stop cooking dinner because Susie wants us to color, but we'll quickly put down our newspaper for the same request. Yes, we want to show our children how valued they are by playing with them, but we need to balance that by showing them that reading is an important activity. That it is What People Do. Try out these phrases: "You play with your felt board here." or "Mommy's going to read. I'm going to read for a while, so do you want to make a picture with your crayons?" and my favorite, "Hey, get your book and I'll get mine and let's read together!"