If you want to raise a reader, few things are as important as maintaining reading routines with your child. After all, this will help build reading stamina and a lifelong love of books! With a few small, easy steps, you can turn reading into one of your child’s favorite activities this year.
Here are five tips to encourage reading routines at home that will not only benefit your child in all subjects, but also reintroduce them to the joy of reading for pleasure on their own.
1. Create a Reading Space
The first thing to keep in mind when creating reading routines for your child: Designate a special nook meant just for reading.
“Help your child find and create a special place where they will want to read,” says Karen Burke, Senior Vice President of Data Analysis and Academic Planning at Scholastic Education. “Ask them for input on what works for them. Help them set up the space and make it their own. Is there a special stuffed animal for a reading buddy, or a special blanket or hat to use while reading?”
The smallest details will help make the space more inviting for curling up with a good book.
2. Set a Schedule
Creating a set schedule to stick to for reading will make your child want to read on their own.
“Work with your child to set a specific time each night that supports a regular routine where other things aren’t scheduled,” says Burke.
Keep in mind that this doesn't have to be rigid. Instead, it can take the form of relaxing family time.
“Make time to read with your child, even if you’re simply reading your own books across the room from each other,” says Katie Carella, a former teacher and Executive Editor at Scholastic who oversees the Acorn and Branches book series for early readers. “One of the most important things you can do is model good reading behavior. Turn off the TV, put away your phone, and spend quality time with a book. Your child will see that books offer their own enjoyment.”
3. Use a Calendar
Burke also suggests using a visual aid so that your child can see their progress with a calendar.
“Using a calendar where the child can document the number of minutes and the days they read can make it visual for them,” says Burke. “Read with your child at least one night a week in the special spot your child has created.”
4. Talk About It
Sitting together over meals and having a spirited discussion about the books your child is currently reading will add excitement to their reading routine as well. Or, better yet, use that time to read a little bit more together!
“Another way to support your child’s reading is to talk with them about what they’re reading, so you two can connect over books,” says Carella. “This can be a great way to gently assess their reading comprehension, too. The key is to discuss the book in such a way that it feels natural and conversational though — not at all like a quiz.”
Here are six more strategies to improve your child’s reading comprehension.
5. Let Your Child Choose
Having a choice is one of the most effective ways to get your child wanting to read more on their own.
“The most important thing is to get children excited about reading, and that happens when they are encouraged to choose their own books,” says Carella. “And all book choices are good book choices because when a child chooses a book, it means they want to read it.”
And don’t stress about the reading levels too much. “If the book is too easy, your child will gain reading fluency and stamina as they tear through it,” says Carella. “The more children read, the more quickly they read and the more vocabulary they’re exposed to. It’s a wonderful cycle of reading growth that takes place!”
Shop popular books for reading routines below! You can find all books and activities at The Scholastic Store.