Five Ways to Promote Reading at Home

Getting kids to read at home
In an earlier post, I shared five ways to get your students reading in the classroom. Today I’ll discuss five methods that you can use to share your love of reading with your own children during their spare time or as a homeschool parent or teacher. Here are some of the things that got our kids into reading in our own home and neighborhood.

1. Buy a Kindle, Nook, or other eReader

Our Kindle was one of the smartest purchases we’ve made in a long time. The Kindle is so easy to use, and it’s very lightweight, so you can take it with you anywhere. We use our Kindle at the doctor’s office while we are waiting for an appointment, on long train rides, during plane rides, on road trips, at bed time, while crossing the English Channel on the ferry… whenever we can squeeze some reading time in!

I also love the fact that you can buy a book wherever you are located if you get the Kindle with 3G. If our kids show interest in a topic, wherever we happen to be, we often browse the Kindle store to see what books we can find for sale on that topic. A few clicks later and the kids can be reading about whatever interests them.

If you have an iPad or similar tablet, it can also make for an excellent eReading device – plus, with an electronic tablet you can browse the web to research any topics that might pique your interest during your reading sessions.

2. Share family reading time

I’ve learned through the years that if my children see me enjoying something, they are more likely to enjoy that same activity. How could they get the idea that reading is a fun activity if they never see me enjoying reading? Our family will often gather in our king-sized bed, get comfortable, and read our books together. It makes for some great family time.

One way to promote family-time reading is to read aloud to your children. By sharing stories with them starting at a young age, they will grow to appreciate literature. Read them both fiction and non-fiction books to familiarize them with both types of books. Our kids naturally gravitated from being read to at night to reading stories by themselves… in fact, our daughter was so interested in reading the books I was reading to her by herself that she doggedly taught herself how to read.

3. Use a reward system

When spending time in the mall or grocery store, our children will often see things that they want – toys and games, usually. As easy as it is to simply buy toys for them, it’s much more special for them to earn them. To earn the money to buy the things they want, our kids must spend a certain amount of time each day doing certain things – chores around the house, practicing their musical instruments, and yes – reading.

Some may disagree with this method, thinking that it turns reading into a chore. If you feel this way, then perhaps you do not want to use this method – I can understand that. But even with less productive distractions around the house like TV and video games, using this method did help to ensure that our kids stayed in the habit of reading – and it became a daily exercise that they now enjoy.

4. Go to the library

My children love going to the library and picking out their own books, especially when they’re given the option to choose any books they want. They loved it even more when they got their own library cards and could check out books by themselves!

One thing that our children enjoyed when they were younger was audio books on tape or CD from the library. We’re not big purchasers of audio books, but we checked out a lot of audio books from our local library that our kids went through at a rapid pace.

5. Visit the local book store

There is something I find extremely fun about grabbing a book at the local book store, buying a big cup of coffee (or in my case, a hazelnut-flavored steamed milk) from the book store’s café, and reading a book at a comfy spot in the book store. Our kids love it too! Just be careful with the little ones around the books-for-sale – teach them to be very careful with the store-owned books and magazines that they’re reading at bookstores.

There are plenty of book stores that will allow you – in fact, they welcome you – to read their merchandise at the store: Barnes and Noble, Books-a-Million and Chapters are some of the larger chains that have reading nooks within the store, and many of the smaller, privately owned book stores are also getting in on the act. It can make for a fun afternoon of reading.

If you have any methods of your own that you have used to get your children into reading, please let me know in a comment! I’d be happy to learn about them.

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4 Responses to “Five Ways to Promote Reading at Home”

  1. Ok, you’ve convinced me to buy a Kindle. Been considering it but you make a great case for it. 🙂 Thanks for linking up with the Weekly Kids Co-Op.

    • I’m glad to hear it Julie. I will admit, I was hesitant to buy a Kindle at first. For a while I debated buying a regular tablet, like an iPad, and then to use that as an eReader as well as a tool for web surfing, emailing and whatever else (plus I must admit, I’m a bit of an Apple fan). But I’m really glad that I got the Kindle instead. The screen is much easier to read than the screen on an iPad or any other back-lit tablet, and the battery seems to last a long time.

      I purchased the 3G version, which at first I didn’t think I’d need (I almost opted for the WiFi only version), but it has come in handy. The best time to have a 3G Kindle is whenever you find yourself stuck somewhere… like at an airport, at the garage, or in the hospital. You can download reading material on the fly, and it helps the time pass by quicker.

      Happy reading to you!

  2. I think another good way to promote reading in the home is to call a halt to all videos, computers, games that are not really teaching anything but violence.

    • Hello Linda,

      Thanks for your tip! I agree, it seems that a lot of time that kids could be getting into reading and really using their imaginations is often taken up by playing video games or watching TV or movies. In our house we limit the amount of time our kids are allowed to play – we don’t watch a lot of TV (maybe two or three hours per week, tops) but our kids do like the occasional kids computer game; our son is really into the game Minecraft, which (at least in Peaceful mode, how he likes to play it) is more of a game of construction and creativity than of violence or fast-paced action.

      Another thing we often do is only allow our kids to play games like Minecraft once they have completed their homework and their required reading for the day. It’s true that it does make reading seem a bit more like a chore than like a fun activity, but for many kids who would really rather play video games all day than read or study, if you don’t set it up so that they have reading time, they will never read, and instead opt to play all day! So if you are unable to find other ways to encourage kids to read, setting up a reward system does seem to work well.

      Thank you for your comments!

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