Reading to my children and now, grandchildren, has always been one of my favorite activities. Not only does it allow for extra cuddle time with my precious little ones, but it reinforces family ties and promotes literacy.
November is National Family Literacy Month. While most of us in the northern hemisphere experience shorter and stormier days this month, what better time is there to snuggle up by a fire or under a cozy blanket together and read a pile of books?
While books can carry us off to far away places and help us experience new and wonderful adventures from the past or future or fantasy worlds, reading promotes critical thinking and confidence. It opens a world of hope and imagination like nothing else can. Literally, with books, the world is at your fingertips.
There's many other ways to promote family reading other than story books. Why not crack open your favorite cookbook and help your children follow the recipe? Or, for those handy people, purchase an easy craft project that includes written instructions and do that together?
If you put your mind to it, there are countless ways to promote reading as a family, but here's my list:
- Start reading while babies are in utero. This helps your baby recognize family voices.
- Develop nightly bedtime story routines. Once the child can read, they will want to read to you.
- Rainy-day family read-a-thon. Cuddle up as a family and enjoy your adventures. Children will see that you enjoy reading, too.
- Attend story hours at your local library or church
- Cook with a recipe promotes reading, listening, and following instructions.
- Crafts and building projects with written instructions works the same as cooking.
- Play board games that promote reading. One of our favorites is Apples to Apples Junior and with pictures. This promotes reading, grammar, vocabulary and critical thinking.
- Reading using puppets. Children of all ages love puppets. If they are a shy reader, using puppets may help them become braver readers, especially aloud.
- Family devotions. Familiarize your children with reading from the Bible. (See Janice Green's article here). What better way to teach our children God's ways.