Did your young reader rise to the challenge of summer reading? Help them maintain that habit during the school year!
Even with a full schedule of homework, after-school activities and family time, caregivers can use some time-tested strategies to keep kids reading year-round.
Bucks County Free Library’s children’s services coordinator, Kate Transue, offers these tips for helping your child maintain good reading habits.
Model good reading habits
Make sure your kids see you reading books, newspapers or magazines every day. After all, kids learn by watching the grown-ups around them.
“When caregivers make time to read on their own – even for a few minutes a day – it shows that reading isn’t just for school or just for younger people,” Kate says.
“Build reading into your daily routine. While your child reads a chapter of their book before bed, grab your own book and join them. Or listen to an audiobook while making dinner or driving with your kids. Your library staff can recommend some family-friendly options!”
Establish a library routine
Lots of families visit the library the same day each week. “The happy memories kids make at the library help them become lifelong readers and library users,” Kate says.
Whether you come for a weekly storytime, time in a children’s play area, or to get new books, try pairing library visits with something you already do every week. Think piano lessons, a trip to the grocery store, or time at a nearby playground.
Let your kids pick their books
When kids select their own books, they’re more likely to read them – and enjoy it! Letting your child choose their own books also reinforces that reading isn’t done only at school.
“When you visit the library together, let your child’s interests and excitement guide them to the right books,” Kate says. “While you may need to limit the number of books they take home, avoid restricting the form those books take. Graphic novels, manga and audiobooks might not look like traditional chapter books, but the most important thing is they’re reading.”
Borrow books with at-home activities
For kids who like getting their hands dirty, try borrowing books that offer educational activities.
“Weekends and holiday breaks are a great time to tackle a project from a book,” Kate says. “The library has tons of non-fiction books that offer art, cooking, engineering and outdoor activities. The staff at your branch will be thrilled to suggest books for your child’s interests.”
Build a book nook
It’s easier to keep up with a habit when it’s fun and relaxing. For school-age kids, try designating a comfy reading space where they can read without distractions.
“Creating a reading nook is a fun activity to do as a family,” Kate says. “Maybe it’s a corner of the living room with blankets, floor cushions and cozy lighting. It could be as simple as adding a fun book light to their headboard or nightstand. The important thing is to make reading a calming, comfortable activity.”
Make sure they have a library card
If your child uses your library card, getting them a card of their own can help them feel ownership of their time at the library — while developing important life skills.
“Having a library card teaches children responsibility, problem-solving, and good citizenship,” Kate says. “It’s a major milestone on the journey to becoming a lifelong reader!”
Learn more about children’s library cards in Bucks County.