I have always been struggling to get my kids onboard with habitual reading. Okay, maybe I haven’t struggled all the time (because I dropped out halfway 😛) but I did try the common advices out there, along the lines of “make reading a routine at bedtime”.
The awful truth is, I just couldn’t keep up with sound advices like these.
It’s funny how other parents I know seem to be able to work this trick. But I eventually figured out that they don’t do it for years and years and years. They just do this bedtime reading routine at the “right time”, ie when the kids are young and impressionable (~ 1 to 3 years old or little more) and stuck to it frequently (not every night though) until kid knows how to read on his/her own, which is possibly in a couple of months or a year or so? At least there’s an end date. Then it’s like autopilot mode.
The thing is, tips like this entail specifics not commonly mentioned, or that they come by in bits and pieces. The juggling act of parenting clearly doesn’t make it any easier to take everything in, have time to synthesize and then proceed to do things in what feels like there’s a right order to them… What I finally figured was that with this nightly reading routine, kids have to focus on the words in the story (as you read, you run your finger below the storylines) so that they learn how to read eventually on their own. This is the secret sauce for “make reading a routine at bedtime” to actually work and turn your kids into avid readers!
Sigh… I had kids roaming in the bedroom even though I knew they were listening to me read out loud.
If I knew better, I’d have a GOAL in mind (ie get my kids to become readers) and definitely a PLAN in place (e.g. sit them on my lap and read out loud WHILE I trace the words). I realized the issue wasn’t that my kids are not born readers, but rather, that I was just not strategic or intentional enough in my parenting ways…
So if you have kids who are young, ie in the toddler/preschooler phase, try this trick out and let me know how it works for you:)
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