With the countdown to the Olympics in full swing and New Year's resolutions just out the gate, at Scholastic we've kicked off "Get Book Fit" Month to encourage kids and families to build their reading power and fitness by reading more!
Just as any athlete needs to practice a sport in order to get better, kids need to practice reading to keep their brains sharp and become better and better readers. The New Year is a great time to start new, healthy habits and getting "Book Fit" is a perfect way to remind kids that reading is part of having a healthy lifestyle.
To kick off the New Year, here are 10 ways to get "Book Fit" with your kids:
1. Prep your home to be "Book Fit." Make reading material available in the rooms at home where your kids spend most of their time, easily accessible on tabletops, in bins or on bookshelves in each room. Include magazines, newspapers, comic books, how-to guides, and reading material that will tap into your children's interests and passions.
2. Reward your children's reading efforts with medals. Incentivize the reading experience. In celebration of the upcoming Winter Games, set reading goals together as a family and determine what would earn a reader a gold, silver, or bronze medal at the end of the month. Plan an awards ceremony with homemade medals and a family celebration.
3. Make the library your athletic stadium. Get library passes and dedicate a day and time each week to visit the library. Make the search for new books into a game such as "library scavenger hunt," where kids can actively search the library for specific genres, characters, etc. during their visit.
4. Create a family game night to exercise kids' minds. Select games that encourage critical thinking, spelling, and language-building. Here are my 5 favorite word games to play. Introduce your kids to new games over the course of the year and get them involved in choosing what the game will be – and what healthy snack should be served while playing!
5. Bring a book to life. Get kids moving with an activity based on the book he or she is reading. Is he or she reading about sports? Try out that sport that weekend. Reading about cooking? Bake something new with your child. Challenge your kids to try different experiences, enhance skills, and open their eyes to things they have never tried before.
6. Host a book marathon or read-a-thon at home. Challenge readers to read several books by his or her favorite author back to back. Try different book series to encourage your child to read every day.
7. Make reading a friendly competition among family and friends. Challenge kids to see who can read the most books. This friendly competition can teach children valuable social skills and good sportsmanship. They can re-read their favorite book again and time the difference between the first and second reads. Use our handy Scholastic Reading Timer app to track your child's reading minutes.
8. Make family reading time a daily routine. Practice, practice, practice! Set aside time in the morning, after school, or at bedtime -- without distractions -- and read as a family. Be sure to read aloud to your child as often as you can this year. The more you do, the more likely you are to show your child that reading is fun. Reading aloud helps children build their vocabularies, develop background knowledge they will need to understand the meaning of text when they read on their own, and inspire a lifetime love of reading! Mix it up with your favorite poetry, a news story, short stories, chapter books, and novels.
9. Organize a family-and-friends reading club. Reading clubs are a great way to build reading team spirit! Encourage all members of the club to think critically about what they read and exchange ideas about what they are reading. This will encourage kids to work as a team and be open-minded about the opinions of others. Have each of the kids read the same book and meet once a month to talk about what they liked, didn't like, who their favorite character was, what may have surprised them, etc. Have each of the kids bring one question to ask the group and to bring one new book idea to share with the group for the next month.
10. Host book-swap parties. Have your child collect books he or she has already read and is willing to swap and have his or her friends do the same. With parents' permission, host a book-swap party at your house. You can even drum up fun themes with your kids if that appeals to them -- like "Fantasy Swap" or "Laugh-Out-Loud Funny Reads." Kids then talk to each other about the books they liked and why, and then swap. They'll walk away with not only new books, but also their friends' recommendations, fostering a team effort to getting "Book Fit."
For more daily Book Fit tips, "Like" Scholastic's page on Facebook and visit the Book Fit calendar app on your desktop or your mobile device for new tips, resources, book recommendations, and chances to win free books on Freebie Fridays!
Happy New Year! Happy Reading!
Share ways you and your family are getting Book Fit this year on the Scholastic Parents Facebook page and let's continue the conversation.