Book kids are kids who reach for a book without being asked to. They are the kinds of kids who excel in school because reading does more for the mind than the simple pleasure of reading a story of adventure like Saltwater Taffy.
The question now is, how do we create our children to become book kids? The quick answer is to start ’em early in life. To dive deeper into the idea of creating book kids, here are 7 tips to not only get your child reading, but to develop their love of reading.
1. GET CAUGHT READING: We all know that our kids are like sponges during their developmental years, so it is important for us to pick up a book and read. When your child sees you enjoying the written word over yet another episode of bad television, the more likely they will embrace the activity on their own.
2. HIT THE FLOOR: As a new father, I know it is nearly impossible to get your baby or toddler to sit still. Reading with them on your lap is like trying to hold a wet noodle. A great idea is to get off the couch and find your inner child by reading on the floor. Sooner or later, your little Curious George will circle around to you to see what you are looking at. When they arrive, point out something on the page, or place your finger on the words you are reading.
3. INTERACTIVE READING: As you read your child a story, make sure to point out interesting pictures on the page. For the older kids, a great tool is for you to learn how to use character voices to mix up the monotone of your reading voice. Most children will mimic your voices and quickly ask you to do it again. This tip helps engage your child’s interest in stories, and how knows…perhaps you have a young actor on your hands?
4. MORE THAN A BEDTIME STORY: All too often, we simply read to our children right before bedtime. There’s nothing wrong with the bedtime story as long as you read to your children throughout the day as well. If you only read to them before bedtime, they will associate reading with sleeping and when they are older, they will become sleepy when they have to read a chapter for homework. Read in the morning. Read in the night. Read in the daytime and find a story that’s just right.
5. DISCUSSIONS: To help your child develop critical thinking skills, ask your child questions about what they just read. This exercise will encourage your child to pay attention to what they are reading and not simply on the activity of reading.
6. READING ROOM: Children love to collect things of all shapes and sizes. Knowing this, create a bookshelf where they keep their very own collection of books. Collecting bookmarks is also a great way of engaging them in the activity of reading. Find a decorative box or ‘treasure box’ so they can store their bookmarks and other trinkets associated with reading inside. Send us an email and we’ll send some Saltwater Taffy bookmarks to get them started!
7. BUY THEM A BOOK LIGHT: Children of all ages love adventure, which is the main reason I wrote Saltwater Taffy. Children love to build forts and play hide and seek. The next time you want to read to your child, climb under a blanket in a dark room and turn on the book light for a camping trip right there in your house. Before long, they will insist on reading under a blanket with their book light.