Finally it has happened! Your kids are reading for fun and you are a superstar at creating a reading culture for your family. If Martha Stewart is known for hosting parties then you my friend are the maestro of having your kids connect with the written word.
If this doesn’t sound like you and your kids won’t even look at a book for fun, then it’s time for you to create a reading culture in your home.
How to Create a Reading Culture at Home for Your Family
Make the Time
Life is busy for everyone and yet we make time for the things that we think are important. In order to create a reading culture at home, reading needs to be prioritized.
Now before you get scared or start revolting against me or say that what I am saying is impossible just keep reading. Research states that reading for just 6 minutes can reduce almost 70 % of your stress levels. With this in mind, I recommend trying to read for 10-15 minutes everyday to your kids.You can do this before bed as a part of your bedtime routine or even right after you eat supper as a family.
Another option is to tie reading to an activity that gets done daily. Since kids brush their teeth daily you can try reading to your kids while they brush their teeth. If that won’t work, then try reading to them right after they are done brushing their teeth. Once the habit is formed it will be as natural as breathing.
Make the Library Your Other Home
If your town has a local library then your family needs to be members. If books allow us to travel to distant lands and different eras then libraries are the air bridges. Your local librarian will assist you in finding books for every family member. If they don’t have a particular book on hand, they can also borrow from other libraries.
Did you know most libraries have summer programs dedicated to kids? They have reading challenges, read aloud sessions followed by crafts and they may even have author visits!! Do your entire family a favor and join the library. If you are already members then use the library frequently and consistently.
Library at Home
Now in the event that you do not have a local library then simply make a library at home. This can also be done even if you do have a local library.
If we had the resources, I would love to have a room filled with books from the ceiling to the floor. Luckily for me, I had the chance to be creative with our library since there are no spare rooms. We have a tall Ikea bookshelf that is still going strong for over 8 years and there are books on every shelf. There are also books in baskets for the kids on the lower shelves. There are also books in our hallway in baskets.
My son Caleb has his books in his headboard. His headboard is simply an Ikea Kallax shelf unit that was placed horizontally. On top are his favorite toys as well as the Bible that we red every night with our family. In each cube you can find the books he loves such as his Batman 5 minute stories. The cubes also house books that I have chosen for him to read or browse.
Jael my daughter has a different setup in her room. She has a pink basket dedicated to the books that she is currently reading. Under her bed she uses a scrapbook case to hold more books.
My point is this: you do not need an entire room to have a library in your house, you can use every room as a mini library.
Special reading sessions
Tina at LitMama recently shared an Alice in Wonderland Mad Tea Party and I think it is brilliant!
Obviously I can’t do that for every book that we read but we can strive to do something similar monthly. We can set the time and date each month to celebrate the books that we have absolutely loved that month.
Incentives for Reading
If you have a reluctant reader then this will be perfect for you to try. Instead of battling with your kids to read and having it ending with tears (your own) and frowns try an incentive. This is code for constructive bribery.
One option is to have your child read for a certain amount of time each day and them a treat at the end of the week. You can also give a small treat at the end of each reading session.
One thing that has worked with Jael is to have a blank monthly calendar and for every time she reads for 15 minutes, she gets to check it off. Surprisingly she was happy just to check off the days and to see all the days she achieved her task.
Trying a few or all of these suggestions will definitely help you establish a reading culture in your home. The key thing is to remember that nothing changes overnight and to remain consistent.