Thursday, June 28, 2012

Lead By Example-Reading is a habit

One of the biggest complaints from parents that request tutoring or even my own friends is that their kid doesn't like to read. 
Let's get one thing straight - Reading is a skill but it is also considered a hobby and a habit. 
Like most hobbies, they are usually learned by example and there has to be an interest. 
Consider the fact that quilting and knitting are hobbies.
Would you expect a child to pick up some yarn and some knitting needles and start knitting without being taught how or without ever having watched someone knit? No. Of course not.
So don't expect your child to wake up reading one day.  Reading is complicated. It takes many skills to master reading. The earlier you expose your kids to reading the smarter they will be.
How do you get kids interested in reading?
  1. start young - from birth you should be reading to your kids (Lately there is a new trend for people to buy baby or children books instead of a greeting card for baby showers, which is a great way to start a collection of kids books.)
  2. make it age appropriate
  3. the subjects of the book or the magazine should be topics that your child is already interested about (If your son likes football then get books or magazines on football or football players. If your daughter likes Barbie, then Barbie books is what you should be buying or checking-out from the library.)
  4. use technology to your advantage
a. Look into purchasing a Tag reading system from Leapfrog or a VTech toy.
b. Use the computer, there are tons of online books, that will highlight the words while the computer reads.
c. For preschoolers and kindergarteners start with the alphabet and then the sounds associated with the alphabet. My favorites are:

So parents,  here is a quiz for you -

  • On a rainy day do you sit your kid in front of the TV or take them to the library/bookstore?
  • Do you have children's books and magazines at home?
  • Do those books contain topics that are of interest to your child? 
  • Do you snuggle up and read to them on the couch?
  • Do you have storytime?
  • Is your child excited about learning?
  • How often does your child see you curled up with a good book or are you in front of your computer/tv?

Don't get me wrong - clearly I spend time on the computer writing and researching and running a company.  However, in front of my kids I limit my computer usage and I never watch tv (other than the news). (Mommy needs her cup of coffee and FOX CT in the morning to get going.) I have taught them that mommy has computer time and so do they. Balance is key.
 At the same time, we always have reading time.  Bedtime storytime is such a treasured activity in our family that I can use it as leverage against my kids. Instead of them choosing story, mommy gets to pick if they aren't good listeners throughout the day.

The bottom line is simple, if we want our children to be scholarly - then we must give them the proper tools. Help your kids build a great habit that they will use all their lives.

books at home + parents that read = kids eager to learn

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