5 Days of Raising Readers: Be Delighted

As we desire to raise readers, our children will see if we delight in books.
5 days raising readers be delighted
They will notice if we give and receive books as gifts. If reading is a priority in our day and we make it a priority in their day (instead of something that has to be “squeezed” in), they’ll know.

How else can we help our children to delight in books?

One way is to make sure their reading lists are diverse.

Jessie Wise (co-author of The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home) tells how she had her children check out the following books at each library visit:

  • one science book
  • a history book
  • an art or music appreciation book
  • one practical book (a craft or hobby “how-to”)
  • a biography or autobiography
  • one classic novel (or adaptation suited to age)
  • an imaginative storybook
  • a book of poetry
  • book or books of their choice

We haven’t exactly followed that list to the letter, but it does help to have children diversify their reading, once their skill level allows it.

It is sometimes useful to set up specific times as “Required Reading” and “Free Reading”.

Either way, reading is happening, but if want to encourage your child to read a specific book (whether for a school assignment or just because), you may have to make that happen.

At the very least you could require one nonfiction, one fiction, and one poetry volume.

I feel strongly that reading should not be assigned as punishment.

If a child is struggling with a particular book there are several things you could try:

  • Read it aloud together
  • Reevaluate the assignment and decide if there is something better or equally appropriate
  • Try to get the book on CD or mp3 so the child can listen while drawing or building legos (or other quiet craft type activity)

There are too many great books in the world to make a child slog through something they hate.

Sure, challenge a child. Require them to read 25 pages (or 50 or 100 depending on the child’s ability and the length of the book) before giving it up. One benefit of being a homeschool parent is the authority to change “required” reading when necessary.

Remember that children are capable of understanding books (and vocabulary) higher than their current reading level.

This is why reading aloud (and books on CD) are so important.

A child who is still struggling through easy readers on their own will appreciate the story of Charlotte’s Web or an appropriate, child friendly, biography.

Let the children extend their bedtime if they’re reading quietly.

Children all seem to be programmed to resist bedtime. Play along with that desire by equipping them with books.

Save movie adaptations until after a child reads a book.

Don’t – with possible exceptions – use a movie to inspire a child to read a book.

If a child sees a movie first, that is what they will “see” as they read the book. And anyway, all the suspense will be gone because he or she will already “know what happens.” (A great motivator in reading is just wanting to know how it all turns out.)

Take books along on trips (whether on CD, mp3, or simply a parent reading aloud).

Books read in this way will become part of the family fabric. (“Remember when we listened to The Wizard of Oz while we drove through Kansas?”)

Help your children create their own books.

Help them write down their stories, or let them dictate a story to you.

Put their names on the front “covers” (cardboard or a notebook will do) as the author and illustrator.

Help them keep notebooks where they record the titles of their favorite books, their favorite authors, or favorite quotes from books. (These are often called Commonplace Books)

Just on a personal note let me share the story of one of my daughters with you:

Despite being homeschooled her entire life, and despite living out many of these ideas in our own family, she struggled learning to read. She would learn phonics rules and then forget them. She would rather dance and move than sit and read.

But because she is homeschooled rather than in a different type of school situation, we just kept at it.

We read aloud. And we listened to books on CD.

We reviewed (and re-reviewed) phonics. And we played phonics games and word games.

We did not allow her to say things like “I’m bad at reading” or “I don’t like reading”.

Her sisters shared their favorite books with her. We let her tell stories based on the pictures she saw, instead of requiring her to read a book perfectly.

Despite this rocky start, she loves books.

She treasures the beautiful illustrations and laughs over humorous captions. If anyone is reading aloud, even a board book to her baby brother, she will probably be listening in.

And that patience is paying off.

It’s not uncommon now to hear her ask someone, “Can I read to you?” She chooses her own books at the library and gleefully narrates the stories to us.

She’ll read and re-read her favorites. She likes an audience, even if it’s just the cat. (Who is perfectly willing to be read to and not really picky as to subject matter.)

She’s almost 8 and she’s just now becoming comfortable reading on her own.

But she’s a Reader.
In her own time, and at her own pace, she became a Reader and I’m not even sure when it happened.

I truly believe, with parents who are patient and continually equipping their child for reading success that this can happen for any child. If you delight in books, your children will too.

To see the previous or later post(s) in this series: 5 Days of Raising Readers
For reading ideas:

For help with phonics or grammar:

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