One of the biggest milestones kids experience during the school-age years is learning how to read. Once they unlock those magical words on the page, the whole wide world opens up for them. Whether it’s a lovely story for beginning readers like Frog and Toad or a can’t-put-it-down chapter book series like Harry Potter, both younger and older school-age children have plenty of options when choosing a great children’s book.
But while it’s important for kids to learn to read on their own and to continue to read books by themselves to strengthen their reading skills, it’s also a good idea for parents to keep reading with them, even when kids become strong readers. Here are some reasons why parents and kids should keep reading together:
- It encourages a love of books. When reading is a regular part of your family routine, it becomes a normal thing like eating dinner together or bath time. And the more your child reads with you and sees you reading your own books, the more he’s likely to love diving into a good story, too. When you cultivate a love of books with young children by reading with them, you’re instilling a great habit that’ll last your child a lifetime.
- More book time means less time on screens. When you make reading a built-in part of your schedule, it’ll naturally translate into reducing your child’s screen time. You can also make sure that the time your child does spend using tech devices includes educational content like online math games, which means she’ll have to figure out how to manage her time on a screen (a very useful skill that’ll come in handy as she grows older and has to spend more time on tech devices for academic and social reasons) while reading every day.
- It’s a great opportunity for parents and kids to spend time together and strengthen their relationship. One of the best ways to connect with your child is by opening up a good story. Not only will it be a wonderful way to spend time together and strengthen your bond with your child, but it will also give you a chance to share your reactions and thoughts and opinions about whatever story you’re reading. It will encourage your child to think and to form his own opinions and communicate them. Doing things together with your child is a great way to stay connected, and just as doing active things like bike riding or going for hikes will help him stay physically fit, reading together will help your child become intellectually strong.
- It helps kids practice reading out loud, which is an important skill. As your child’s reading skills grow, you can take turns reading passages from the book out loud. Doing this will boost your child’s self-confidence and help them becomes used to reading to others, which will be a useful skill in school. Reading aloud also helps kids improve pronunciation, increase their vocabulary, and help them really access and understand the deeper meanings of a story.
- It’s fun. Just because you’re a grownup, it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a great kids’ book like the Harry Potter series or The Mysterious Benedict Society series. One of the biggest perqs of reading great kids’ books with your child is that it’s fun. And having fun with your child has benefits that extend beyond bringing you and your child closer together in the present: Research has shown that parents playing and having fun with kids is one of the best ways to increase a child’s chances of being happy and healthy later in life.
Whether your child is a beginning reader or a confident fifth grader who’s mastered chapter books, reading together offers many benefits for both kids and parent
The Power of People: Start a Literacy Movement
International Literacy Day (ILD) shines a spotlight on global literacy needs, which goes hand in hand with ILA’s mission: literacy for everyone, everywhere. See how the Philippines transformed their literacy rate and improved the lives of Filipinos of all ages.
International Literacy Day is celebrated annually by the International Literacy Association (ILA) and is designed to focus attention on literacy issues. ILA estimates that 780 million adults, nearly two-thirds of whom are women, do not know how to read and write. They also estimate that 94—115 million children worldwide do not have access to education. International Literacy Day is just one way the Association strives to increase literacy around the world.
This year, ILA is focusing on the Phillipines to promote the theme “The Power of People: Start a Literacy Movement,” which honors the countries triumph in promoting literacy to its citizens. Visit the ILD website to download the activity kit and instructions on building your own Little Free Library® to promote reading in your own community. We’re building one, too!
Join the global celebration, and be sure to let the International Literacy Association know how you celebrate. Share pictures and videos to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (using the official hashtag #ILD15), or send them to [email protected].
Make sure kids have something to read during the summer — put books into children’s hands. Register with First Book and gain access to award-winning new books for free and to deeply discounted new books and educational materials or find other national and local programs and organizations that can help.
Get your local public library to sign kids up for summer reading before school is out.Invite or ask your school librarian to coordinate a visit from the children’s librarian at the public library near the end of the school year. Ask them to talk about summer activities, educational videos, and audio books at the library and to distribute summer reading program materials.
Get to know your community public library better. Find out if your public library is part of the Collaborative Summer Library Program, a grassroots effort to provide high-quality summer reading programs for kids. The theme for 2015 is Every Hero Has a Story. Colorín Colorado has tips for parents in English and in Spanish about visiting the local library. Or check out our top 9 reasons to rediscover your public library.
Let parents and kids know about the free summer reading incentive programs. Pizza Hut’s BOOK IT! program has a Wimpy Kid summer reading challenge that kicks off on June 22nd. Jet Blue and Magic Tree House launch Soar with Reading on June 23. The Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge encourages kids to log the minutes they spend reading and map their accomplishments. Kids can participate in weekly challenges, earn digital rewards, and enter to win prizes. With the Barnes & Noble Imagination’s Destination challenge, your child can earn a free book after reading eight books (and parents receive a summer reading kit full of activities). With the TD Bank Summer Reading Program, kids read and keep track of 10 books and can get $10 added to their Young Saver account.
Help kids build math and science skills over the summer. Share our Literacy in the Sciences series with families. Each one-page tip sheet (in English and Spanish) suggests easy hands-on activities as well as fiction and nonfiction books to extend the learning. In this section you’ll also find links to great science websites for kids, blogs about children’s science books, and links to PBS KIDS science programs and activities.
Encourage parents to start a neighborhood book club with other families this summer. It’s a great way to keep the summer learning social and low-key. Warmer weather can inspire some not-so-run-of-the-mill meeting places, too: a tent or picnic blanket in the backyard. If the book club catches on, it’s something to continue throughout the school year. PBS Parents has a wonderful collection of tips on how to start a club and encourage great discussions. Our special education blogger, June Behrmann, shares ideas (and title selections) for starting your own mother-daughter “accessible ” book club using print alternatives.
Suggest to parents that they set up a summer listening program which encourages their children to listen to written language. Research shows that some children with learning disabilities profit from reading the text and listening to it at the same time.
You can also find great activities at Reading Works.
Offer recommendations for active learning experiences. Check with your local department of parks and recreation about camps and other activities. Find out what exhibits, events, or concerts are happening in your town over the summer. Create a directory or calendar of local summer learning fun to share with your students and their families. (Be sure to note any costs involved.)
Let’s get our children reading and learning.
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