There are many ways you can promote reading with your children other than through books. While books are of course a wonderful resource, your home also provides a variety of additional reading material.
If you have pre-readers and beginning readers, put magnetic letters on your refrigerator door. Put them at your child’s level and create sentences. Ask your child to write the shopping list with the letters.
Leave large cereal boxes on the table and watch your child engage with the words and colorful graphics. Ask them to ‘find’ certain elements, letters and words.
Ask your child to dictate or write down the steps to make, for example, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Then together, try and make the sandwich using those exact directions.
Show your children how recipes work, and have them help read the instructions and gather ingredients and utensils.
Encourage your child to create menus for the dinner table. It might be a simple list of food items or something more elegant with designs and pictures too. You may need to write the words for your child to copy.
Read poems aloud at the table. Everyone could take a turn. Funny or rhyming poems can reinforce pre-reading words.
Conversation is where children learn new words, so remember to use descriptive language.
Use the table to play traditional games, and use it to make models, do sewing or knitting. Most activities include directions to read together.
Spread books around the living room. Children are more likely to pick them up if they are within easy reach.
Turn off the TV and celebrate a ‘No TV Night.’ Pop some popcorn and have some fun.
Look through magazines and have a lively competition as you all search for certain words or images.
On nights when you do watch TV, silly sitcoms allow for character and plot discussions and predictions. Make conversation during the commercial breaks.
The ideal place to read is in bed, of course! Also, set your child up with bookshelves and help them to organize their books.
Remember boys, in particular, appreciate nonfiction, so have a few books beside the bed for browsing. The Guinness Book of World Records is a popular one.
Some children like to write in a daily journal, so supply a notebook or paper and pencils.
If your child has a computer in their room, encourage online reading and researching information.
Place sticky note messages and affirmations on the mirror.
Use soap crayons in the tub.
Make up stories with your child using water toys and dolls during bath time.
Explore PVC (plastic) books designed for use in the tub.
Let your child read the road map or plan the next trip.
Play sign games looking for letters of the alphabet in order.
Play the game I-Spy starting at A and working on through Z (if you get that far!).
Take turns retelling favorite stories you’ve read.
Keep in mind: the more we make reading fun, the more reading will be done! The more reading that is done, the more fun reading will become!
Calgary Reads builds connections, strengthens networks, champions, involves and innovates because we all have a role to play in creating a thriving community where all children can read with confidence and joy! For videos and games to help you build the joy of reading with your child, visit calgaryreads.com.
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