I’m a freelance journalist and the mother of a voracious reader. I’ve always been interested in teaching and in literacy; I was president of Peterborough’s Trent Valley Literacy Association, and an ESL tutor. I’ve also got a strong business background in marketing and advertising.
My son started reading early (age 3) and I was curious to know why. Had we, as a “reading family,” done some things naturally to encourage his love of reading? And if so, could other parents - whose kids weren’t naturally drawn to reading - create a “reading environment” that would stimulate a love of reading in their children?
Getting Kids Reading is a non-profit website created to explore this topic. Our underlying philosophy, that parents can create a reading environment through literacy activities, toys, books and games, is based on readings and on anecdotal research with parents and children. We refer to our many-faceted approach as “guerilla literacy” because it relies on many different kinds of activities. The philosophy says that, “if one thing doesn’t work, try something else. Try several things at once.”
The three main things you can do
There are three distinct activities that keep coming up in the research, time and again. Three things that parents can do to help foster a love of reading in their kids. They are:
1) Read to your child every day, even if only for 15 minutes.
2) Scatter books around the house. Kids who are surrounded by books grow up feeling entitled to books, and that’s important.
3) Let your kids see you reading.
Far and away the most important item on the list is the first one – read to your child every day. All of the research shows that when kids are read to, every day, they are much more likely to become book-loving adults.
Literacy is the starting point
Literacy is so important. Not only is reading important for enjoyment and knowledge, it’s the well-spring of curiosity. Kids who can read are able to reach out into so many other areas of curiosity. They can find out about things that have to do with anything they’re interested in. Kids who can read have wings.
Teaching Kids the News
Our sister site is Teaching Kids the News.
TKN offers daily news articles written in kid-friendly language, for parents, teachers and kids.
Each news article is accompanied by curriculum connections for educators to use.