Reading is fundamental to the success of all students. It is the most critical academic skill because it sets the foundation for all learning. Without a strong foundation in reading, children can be left behind at the beginning of their education. According to data released by the National Assessment of Educational Progress in 2019, of the North Carolina 4th graders tested, only 36% were performing as proficient or advanced levels in reading. Some children naturally gravitate toward reading, while others do not. There are easy ways to help cultivate the love of reading in students, even for those who may be reluctant to do so.
Cultivating the love for reading begins in infancy. According to Bright Horizons, “reading to babies contributes to the development of their growing brains and gives them a good start towards a lifelong love of reading and good literature. When you read to infants, it can also help language development as they are taking in information and beginning to learn about speech patterns. In addition, synapses connect between your infant’s neurons as you read aloud, positively affecting child development in many areas.”
As your child grows, be sure to give them easy access to a variety of reading materials. If you are able, create a comfy area in your home for them to read in. Also, begin reading bedtime stories nightly. This will help to establish fond memories of reading.
Children learn best by seeing an example. Be a good reading role model. Allow them to see you read often and anywhere. It does not have to be for long periods of time or even a book. It can be a magazine, a menu, road signs, or instructions to a game. If they see you enjoying reading, it will intrigue and encourage them too.
Reading together as a family also sets a great example. Plan a reading night each week. This could be family reading, silent reading, or reading to a family member. Once you finish reading for the evening, talk about what your books were about. Ask them what their favorite part was or their favorite character. This will help to enhance their comprehension and they will be excited that you are interested in what they read. By making reading a fun activity, this will help to foster the love of reading in your children.
Take advantage of our local library. This is such a fun family activity! This will give your child a wide variety of books to choose from. Introduce them to different genres and topics but let them choose the topics that interest them. It may surprise you what they end up being fascinated by. You can also look at the available audiobooks. These may help if you have a busy schedule.
Establishing these suggestions and routines from an early age will not only help to cultivate the love of reading for your children but will also create great memories for your family.
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” -Dr. Suess