This piece was originally featured in Mediaplanet.
Reading and literacy skills are critical to children’s academic, social and emotional achievement. Families play an essential role in helping children develop their literacy skills and fostering a love of reading.
Research shows that when families read together, children do better in school and beyond. Reading with children provides an opportunity to expose them to more complex words and stories than they would normally encounter on their own. Research also demonstrates that children who frequently read with their families tend to have a strong belief that reading is both important and enjoyable.
Here are five tips for family reading:
1. Establish a reading area in your home
Designating a special space in your home where you read together can help inspire your family to sit down and get lost in books. Creating a reading space with children is also a great way to enjoy quality time together.
2. Spend 30 minutes each day reading together
Even if your child is more interested in reading on their own, sit together and read something side-by-side. Then, ask questions about what they are reading.
3. Make it fun
Reading shouldn’t be a chore; it should be an adventure. If your attitude reflects the joy you feel from getting lost in a book, it’s easier for your children to feel that way too.
4. Look for interesting, reading level-appropriate books
For young readers, find books with illustrations or photos that bring words to life and provide context clues for new vocabulary. For adolescents, find books about subjects that interest your child or introduce new experiences or opportunities.
5. Books make great holiday presents
Giving books as gifts, especially on topics children love, will help encourage and support their interest in reading.
During the holidays and all year-round, it is so important to share the joy and importance of reading with children while making family memories.
Laura Bay is president of National Parent Teacher Association (National PTA), a nonprofit association dedicated to promoting children’s health, well-being and educational success through family and community involvement.
For more tips on how to how to grow children who love to read, or how to host a PTA Family Reading Experience, visit: www.PTA.org/Reading.