Sarah is a mother of four and has been a member since our Piney Orchard Grand Opening! She participates in Stroller Strides and Stroller Barre. She is also an aspiring children’s author, currently at work on her first middle grade novel. Need some book recommendations? Shoot her an email. You can find Sarah at www.sarahdmaynard.com and www.usethatmuse.com.
Many of us know the awesome benefits of making time for physical fitness and sharing that with our children thanks to the amazing team at Fit4Mom Severn. But what about your and your child’s mental fitness? One of the best ways to strengthen some cranial muscle is through reading.
So where to start? Here are 5 ways you can start raising a reader today:
1. Let them see you read something analog. Don’t get me wrong--I love carrying around a stack of books on my tablet, but to my kids, I could be doing anything on there. Kids will imitate what they see. Let them see you get lost in a great story off the screen.
2. Have books around the house. Any where your child has toys, keep a few books. We all know the phrase “out of sight, out of mind.” By keeping books available, your kids can come to them at their own pace. On the flip side, show them that books are important. Keep a few favorites on a special shelf out of reach and only pull them out for special occasions (or when they ask politely, and let’s be honest, that alone can be cause for celebration.)
3. Read aloud with them. Grab a stack of picture books, sit with your kids on your lap, or surrounding you on the floor, and read together. Let your child pick what you read next. Give them the power. And anyone with a toddler knows, they love a bit of power.
4. Visit the library. (Again with the power to choose.) The library has something for everyone. Even if, like mine, your kiddos race to the computer at first, allow them to choose any book(s) they want to borrow before leaving. Summer is a great time to stop in your local library. The Summer Reading Program is a wonderful way to plunge in to a season of stories. Anne Arundel County Library’s Summer Reading Club is for birth through adult. Sign up the whole family!
5. Let them read what they want to read. Comics, magazines, fiction, non-fiction, the books from the discount bin at Target. Anything. Let them find what they love. Luckily, there are many stories to taste and not every story is for everyone. That’s why there are so many. But do try and introduce great stories, from classics to new favorites. (Librarians are great to ask for recommendations. Or Google it! There are so so so many lists.)
6. Relax and try to enjoy the narrative. Remember you want this to be a LIFELONG skill. A love of reading will not happen overnight. It might take longer than potty training. At least there won’t be as many accidents. And actually, it might help with potty training. Dad takes things in to read, why not the kids.
And yeah, I know that’s six tips. Counting can be hard too.
From birth to adulthood and beyond, stories are at our core. In our house, being a reader is a highly desirable trait I hope I’m passing on to our kids. It’s something we acknowledge daily, though eventually, I hope, they will do it without even thinking. Actually, it is a lot like potty training. Or a push-up with proper form. But, with time and practice, before you know it they will tearing through stacks faster then you.
Now drop and give me 20 pages. Happy reading!