|Sophia proudly showing off her trophy & medal for completing a summer reading program|
I've been waiting six years for Sophia to learn how to read. Seriously. When I discovered the library at the ripe old age of 8, I was thrilled. I read multiple books everyday that summer. The bookmobile stopped in front of my house. Even before she was born, I had a shelf of books I planned to read to her.
Towards the end of kindergarten, Sophia started reading on her own more and more. At first she was reluctant, scared even, to read by herself. As we read books together or as she reads books to me, she's grown more confident. When we vacationed at my parents' home this summer, she snuck away to read by herself.
Now that she's a first grader, here's how I'm encouraging her to read more:
- Empower your child with his own library card. Sophia has had her own library card since she was three years old, but I didn't let her use it to check out her books until this fall. I didn't want to keep track of books checked out on two cards (mine and hers). She's so excited to be able to check out her own books on her own library card.
- Let your child choose her books (within reason of course). I'd like for Sophia to read more non-fiction but right now she loves The Fly Guy series, Mo Willems' Elephant and Piggie books, and Pokemon books. I sneak in other books here and there, but these are the books that she will read by herself, without being told to read.
- Create a reading ritual. Whether Sophia reads to me or I read to her, everyday we find time to snuggle on the couch and read. When her little brother interrupts, I just include him in the ritual as well. Sometimes we sneak some reading in before we catch the school bus, other times we do it before bedtime.
- Read to their siblings (or pet). The first time Sophia read a book from beginning to end to her brother, she was so proud of herself! Even if it was a simple board book, it gave her confidence in her growing reading skills. Because she was reading to her little brother, she didn't feel pressured to know every word in the book. Plus the two of them get quality time together!
- Read and re-read. As much as I get tired of reading the same Pokemon books to her, the repetition is a good way for her to learn new words. I'd much rather be reading classics like The Chronicles of Narnia to her. (Don't worry, it's on my list to read to her.) She often reads the same books over and over again and I don't mind.
- Discuss the book after she reads it. By asking Sophia to tell me about the book in her own words, I can see if she understands what she just read. I ask questions about the characters, what they do, how they solve the problem and her favorite parts of the story. Usually she becomes so animated I only have to ask one question.
Now I'm not a teacher, but I know as long as reading is a part of our family culture, my kids will grow up loving books like I did. I want them to enjoy traveling to new worlds by just turning a page.
Did you kids join a reading program this summer? Sophia joined a library summer reading program..She read an impressive 60 books in 3 weeks when she stayed at my parents.She really wanted that trophy! If I had been more organized, we would have signed up for the Scholastic Summer Challenge as well. Kids can log their minutes and be eligible tow in prizes. In fact, the challenge broke the world record in an impressive 12 weeks with over 89 million minutes logged.
You and your child can still join the challenge and log your reading minutes. The Reading Timer App is one you can use all year round to track your children's reading minutes. Even though summer is over, Scholastic wants to help your kids to continue reading this fall.
Giveaway time: Scholastic is offering one of my readers a bundle of books, handpicked for your child based on age. Just enter in the Rafflecopter form below.