Bev Bloom of Bloomin' Books believes personalized books help motivate children to read "because it's so special for them to see their name in print." But you don't have to buy a book to make reading personal. Make up stories for your child – and make him/her the main character!
Shnieka Johnson, wife, mom and an independent consultant in the area of arts and education, suggests that moms be patient as their children learn to read and encourage them to read whenever (and wherever!) possible. She says, "Allow your child to practice their reading wherever they are. The neighborhood, the grocery store, or even the subway."
Jennifer Brannon, a special education teacher for a virtual public school, says, "Read, read, read. When kids complain they don't like reading, I say, 'You just haven't met the right book.' It's very easy to match books to student interest. Make that investment."
John Paul Engel, educator and author of Project Be the Change, credits his mother for helping him learn to read and excel in math by sitting with him every day at the kitchen table. He says, "My mother gave me one of the most valuable gifts anyone could give and it cost all of $0.50 from a rummage sale. My mother came in [while I was watching TV] and said if you don't want to be in special education classes anymore you need to read instead of watching TV. She gave me a copy of Julius Vernon's 20 Thousand Leagues Under The Sea. I loved it. My imagination took me on adventures no TV program or video game ever could. Find books that are age appropriate about topics your kids care about. Take them to the library and let them see you getting books to read."
My own children are two and four, and they both take an active interest in storytelling and reading. I have been reading to them since they were in the womb, and I feel that my own love of reading (and writing) has fostered theirs. My favorite activity is taking my children to the library. This free resource offers so much more than just books. We participate in our local library's story time, which is a fun combination of reading books, singing and dancing. After story time, we go home with a backpack full of books, and we continue our own story times at home. We also split up our reading sessions throughout the day. Early morning is a great time to snuggle up and read a book to your children as they are waking up. At bedtime, we dedicate enough time to read at least 30 minutes worth of stories before they hit the sack.
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