Our United Voice

5 Easy Ways To Get Your Child Excited About Reading

Monday, May 5, 2014

By Katy Miller
Creating a culture of literacy in your home may seem like a heavy venture. In reality, however, it’s very simple and doesn’t require a tremendous monetary investment. It only requires time, commitment and attention, all of which are free.

In our house, we believe that learning is not confined to a certain time of day or setting. It’s not about passing any kind of test or measuring our child against other children. It’s about being committed to forming a productive and happy adult who will serve the world in a positive, thoughtful and memorable way.

We see reading as paramount to this commitment. As our daughter has learned to read, her confidence has grown and her engagement with the world has deepened. She’s become more outgoing and captivated by everything around her.

In short, successful literacy is a fly wheel, of sorts. The energy a child gains from learning to read generates kinetic movement with all aspects of academic development. As their confidence grows, their grades improve, disciplinary issues abate and they form productive connections with others.

To make literacy an enticing and easy concept, we have adopted a holistic and fun approach.  Don’t be overwhelmed – it’s actually a snap!
  1. We read every night, no exception. Sometimes it’s one book, sometimes it’s as many as five or six! We’ve read to our daughter every night since she was born nearly six years ago. Now that I think of it, we read to her before she was even born so she knew our voices right away. Now that she can read, she reads to us too. This makes it doubly fun for everyone involved.

  2. We visit the free public library at least once a month and borrow the maximum number of books we are allowed. As you know, a library card is free and you might be quite impressed with the collection of children’s books that your local library branch has.

  3. We model positive and consistent reading behavior. We read books, magazines, ebooks…pretty much anything we can get our hands on! My daughter sees us enjoying the hobby and because we show that we value the practice, she values it as well.
  4. We talk about books. When we’re riding in the car, grocery shopping, eating dinner – any time it’s natural for us to chat, we talk about the books she likes. We discuss funny aspects of the stories and some of my daughter’s favorite characters. Quotes from books are among our inside jokes and frequent catch phrases.
  5. We celebrate when she reads. We invented “reading kisses,” which we dole out when she does a great job sounding out a difficult word or when she comprehends and recalls what she reads. It’s become a bit of a competition for her to see how many reading kisses she can get in a single reading session.

All of this may sound intense, but it really isn’t. We simple encourage what she is naturally inclined to do: learn. I’m convinced that all children are curious from the moment of their birth. All of them. Encourage learning and literacy development and their world opens up so far beyond the walls of your home or the latitude and longitude of your city. It allows them to see that they are destined for great things, whether it’s to become the world’s next big fashion designer, a CEO of a Fortune 500 company, a famous musician, or even the President of the United States.

Now that you’ve read what I do to get my own daughter excited about reading, I leave you with one question. What are you doing to promote the literacy in your home?

-Katy Miller

Katy Miller is the Director of Digital Marketing for Louisville-based, Atria Senior Living. She is a member of the Metro United Way Digital Engagement Council and studies emerging technology for the purpose of creating new ways of learning about, repositioning and changing public conversation about the process of aging.

In her spare time, Katy enjoys spending time with her husband and daughter, watching college sports, sewing and reading.

You can reach Katy at mesewgood@gmail.com and on Twitter at @MediaDarlingKM

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