Every January we resolve to exercise more, eat less, stay organized, and be a better person. We set goals for ourselves and consider the changes we can and should make in the coming year. This year, as you take stock and reflect, take some time to think about a few goals or changes that center around literacy. It's never too late to incorporate more reading and writing into your family life. In the words of Dr. Seuss, "You're never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book, and read to a child."
The following ideas are all realistic and completely manageable. Even a small change can make a big difference! Here are some ideas to get you thinking:
1. One Chapter Book Per Month
All too often, bedtime stories and read-alouds begin to taper off as our children get older. Set a goal to read one chapter book a month aloud to your children. Spend the year introducing your children to fantastic children's literature. Dust off a few old favorites from childhood or discover new authors and stories together. If you need a few ideas, check out my "100 Chapter Books You MUST Read to Your Children" post.
2. Book Challenge
Two years ago, my daughter and I challenged each other to independently read 50 chapter books in one year. I had allowed the "busyness" of life to push my love of reading to the side and wanted to dive head-first back into the world of books. At the same time, I wanted to challenge my daughter to read more. The book challenge was a huge success, and we decided to make it an annual event. (The winner even gets to choose the restaurant we celebrate at!)
Set an independent reading goal that is appropriate for your family. Less voracious or struggling readers may want to set a goal to read 12 or 24 chapter books for the year. Make the goal challenging, but attainable. We want to motivate our children (and ourselves!), not frustrate them. Keep track of the titles you read and celebrate your reading accomplishments.
3. One Is Silver and the Other Gold
Spend some time in the coming year revisiting old favorites and discovering new ones. Did your child love Ramona the Brave in first grade? Encourage her to read it again in fourth grade with new eyes. Re-read the Harry Potter series. Devour the Hunger Games trilogy for a second time. Curling up with a favorite book is like spending time with an old friend. Make a plan to re-read a few favorite books this year.
While old favorites are comforting, new choices can be exciting! Try a new genre this year. Dive into mysteries or YA. Encourage your child to explore non-fiction, fantasy, or biographies. Select a book or two you wouldn't normally choose to read. You never know what you will find, or how it might inspire you. So check out that new author. Dive into that series you've had your eye on. Find a new favorite book this year.
Happy New Year and happy reading!!