This post is sponsored by Scholastic.
As an English major, literature addict and all-around avid reader, encouraging my children to love books and reading has always been one of my top priorities as a parent. Even before my children were born, my reading list focused less on what I should expect while expecting and more on how I could ensure my children inherited my enthusiasm and passion for the written word. Luckily for all book-loving parents, there’s a new website from Scholastic, dedicated entirely to inspiring a love of reading in your children, starting on day one… The Story Starts Here.
The Story Starts Here
This new website from Scholastic features a variety of picture books for children ages 0-8 years, with a diverse and unique roster of characters and stories, art styles and formats. All the books listed are accompanied with various printables, videos and activities, designed to teach children lessons, language and foster a love of learning.
My children had a chance to read through some of the books featured and they fell in love with the stories and characters. My 15-month-old loved Peek-A-Boo Farm, and laughed wildly as she lifted the flaps and made silly barnyard animal noises. My 3-year-old particularly loved singing along to If You’re a Robot and You Know It (the laser beam eyes were his favorite) and following along on the crazy adventures of the animals in Where’s Walrus? & Penguin?
Scholastic believes in the importance of reading to children, fostering a love for language and promoting literacy. In the spirit of getting children involved in reading, here are a couple ways to raise kids who love to read.
It’s never too early
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends parents read to their children starting at birth. However, don’t worry about how much you’re reading to your infant or whether or not it’s educational — babies respond to their parents’ voices, so take comfort in the fact that it doesn’t matter whether you’re reading Goodnight Moon or People magazine. Even though babies will not understand the words you say, they are developing the brain structures necessary for later language literacy by listening to you. For young babies, hearing language means learning language. The important thing is that babies begin to associate reading with the feelings of love and affection. When you read to a young baby, don’t worry about finishing the book or even turning pages in the right direction. Just enjoy playing with the book as if it’s a toy, and read as much as your baby will let you.
Allow children to explore books on their own
As your children grow, let them use and explore books in their own way, even if it’s not the way that adults think books should be used. For an infant, this may mean chewing on a board book, while a young toddler may enjoy stacking books or spreading them across the floor. Two-year-olds may request the same books over and over again, while 3-year-olds may insist on asking questions about the plot and 4-year-olds may make up alternate endings. Reading to kids isn’t as simple as reciting the words and flipping the pages. Let your child explore books in their own way and you might be surprised how imaginative they are.
Make books available
Children should have a wide-range of books available to them, at their eye-level, so they can decide what to read. Anyone with kids knows that they love making their own choices, so make sure there are a variety of books available for your child to choose from, on a range of subjects and reading levels. Children are more likely to read a book they pick out themselves, so let your child’s interests guide his or her reading choices. Keep an eye on the reading level of the books your children choose, but let them stretch to the best of their ability. If you don’t have a large selection of books at home, visit your local library and allow your child to choose a few books on their own.
Make reading part of your routine
Regardless of how motivated your child might be, he or she will not read if there isn’t any time to do so. Be sure to carve time out of your child’s busy day to dedicate to reading, both with a parent and on their own. By setting aside specific times for reading, rather than trying to squeeze it in between school and sports, you send the message that reading is important. Pick out a comfy spot that has good lighting and room to keep a book or two, which will help your child learn to connect coziness and comfort with everyday reading. Make sure that reading is also a part of your child’s daily life. Encourage your kids to keep an eye out for things they can read, both in and outside the home, like road signs, words on commercials, grocery lists, etc.
For more tips on creating an avid reader and lots of interactive tools to make reading fun, visit Scholastic’s The Story Starts Here website.
Scholastic books pictured:
- Peek-a-boo Farm by Joyce Wan
- If You’re A Robot And You Know It by David A. Carter (lyrics by Musical Robot)
- Where’s Walrus? And Penguin? by Stephen Savage
- Zen Socks by Jon J Muth
- Friendshape by Amy Krause Rosenthal (Illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld)
This post was sponsored by Scholastic. All opinions belong to the author.
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