Manager of Library Services – Stratford School
“You are never alone when you are lost in the magic of a book.”– Marie Lu, Author
A love of reading opens the door to adventures, learning new things and a whole host of key language skills such as speech development and vocabulary building. Spending time with books also creates special moments for you to bond with your child and enjoy each other’s company. . Recently we had the opportunity to discuss top tips on fostering a love of literature with Stratford’s Manager of Library Services, Keira Pride, and here are some excerpts from that conversation. .
1. How can parents encourage their kids to read? Children love to see their parents reading, and will imitate them. If they see Mom or Dad enjoying a great book as a part of their day, the children will want to read as well. So consider creating a reading nook in the house with fun pillows, lots of light, and a shelf full of books. Allow them to stay up fifteen minutes later, but only if they are reading. Small steps daily are how habits are created.
2. What qualities should someone look for when shopping for children’s books? First, bring your children to the bookstore or local library and ask for help. The trained experts there are full of ideas. Secondly, allow your child to look around at the library or store, ask questions, and read a few pages of several books. Plan to spend an hour leisurely browsing around. Lastly, when in doubt, go for a stretch towards a book that is a bit above your child’s reading level rather than below. That’s where you come in: be ready to answer questions about new words!
3. Are there any specific children’s books you recommend? I fill the libraries at Stratford School with lots of series, that way the students are always looking for the next book. Children love familiarity and repetition – the characters in the stories become their friends. Rick Riordan Presents series is one of my favorites. Great middle grade authors write these from underrepresented cultures and backgrounds, telling their own stories inspired by the mythology and folklore of their heritage. Aru Shah and the End of Time, by Roshani Chokshi, for example, is the first in a series of five middle grade fantasy books rooted in Hindu mythology. Sam and Dave Dig a Hole, written by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Jon Klassen, is my desert island book – if I was stranded on a deserted island, and could only bring one picture book, it would be this one. After reading it aloud over 50 times, it still makes me laugh, and I will never tire of the joy it brings to students of all ages. Sam and Dave are young boys out in the backyard with their dog, a canteen, and a few shovels, looking for “something spectacular.” No internet, no video games, no phones, nothing but the open sky and the earth below them. They find an adventure for themselves, and how they do that is magical.
Ms. Pride concludes with “while it is important for children to learn, try not to overthink the content of the books your children are reading. Any reading is good reading. A child with a book is improving not only their vocabulary and comprehension, but also exploring a new world. Concentration and attention span will improve because reading a book stimulates children’s brains in ways that are unique. And remember, if your child has chosen a book themselves, they are more likely to read it!”
Four Fun Activities To Further Motivate Your Children to Help Engage Reading!
Now let’s explore a captivating collection of activities that are sure to spark your child’s love for reading. From bookmarks to creating a character profile, these activities are sure to prepare your child for endless fun and learning!
1. Make a Bookmark – Making a special bookmark is a fun way to get children into the habit of reading more regularly. In this activity, children make their own bookmark based on their favorite book and include a drawing of their favorite scene. Include a space for them to write about their favorite character and include any new words they learned.
2. Create Their Own Story – This activity is creative and asks children to choose their favorite book and then use their imagination to write a short story about what happens next. They can place characters in a completely different story using their own creativity and send them off on a new, exciting adventure or decide to place them in the original story to explore what happens next? Writing stories help children explore their ideas, express their own creativity, and reinforce sentence structure, vocabulary, and grammar all at the same time!
3. Develop a Character Profile – Ask children to choose their favorite character and produce a poster of that character. Ask the child to draw a picture and write key details about their character including physical appearance and interests. This activity can be motivating for a child as they see their favorite character in a different context that can be both entertaining and engaging.
Making reading an enjoyable part of your child’s life starts with incorporating books into your daily routine. And part of learning to enjoy reading, is being around books at home. Try starting a book collection for your children and, if available, check with your local library for information on story time programs. These meet-ups can be a great way for children to enjoy books while being social with other children and families, and helps reinforce the wonderful, magical world of reading and the vast array of places it can take them!
If you are interested in learning more about Stratford School, or scheduling a personalized tour, visit us online at www.stratfordschools.com/tours.