If you want your kids to read, you need to get them interested in reading, educators say.
And each teacher has at least one doable suggestion for getting youngsters excited about the written word.
Here’s a sampling:
“Read-aloud is the No. 1 way to get kids interested in reading. When you read aloud, you get them hooked,” said Deb Carlson, a third-grade teacher at Hoover Elementary School in the Council Bluffs district. She said she purposely chooses read-aloud books that all kids will identify with.
“The kids really get interested in books when there’s a movie” made from it, said Kayla Childress, a media specialist at Cather Elementary School in the Millard district. Read a book aloud or have the child read it, see the companion movie and discuss them, she said. “Kids also love acting out books.”
She also encourages read-aloud books, especially ones that make kids laugh.
Use motivation charts, a daily routine and a bedtime routine, said Kathy Gates, a first-grade teacher at Abbott Elementary School in Millard. She puts a sticker on a chart for each picture book a younger child reads or for each hour an older child reads. The number of stickers needed for a reward equals the child’s age. Rewards could be ice cream, a picnic, a trip to the pool or a back-yard campout.
Gates’s daily reading routine recommendation is “I read, you read, we read.” On the first day, a child reads to himself or aloud. On day two, a parent or other caregiver reads to the child. On day three, caregiver and child read as a team, alternating sentences, paragraphs or pages, whichever makes sense.
She calls her bedtime routine the three B’s: bath, books and bed. A child gets ready for bed, followed by reading and lights out.
Parents are the key. They must set a good example by reading daily, setting aside time daily (maybe 20 minutes) for their child’s reading, and not confining their own reading or that of a child to books, said Rhonda Thornton, librarian at Standing Bear Elementary in the Omaha Public Schools. Consider newspapers, magazines or something online, she said.
It’s important to match a reluctant reader to material that appeals to his or her interests, said Jennifer Rinn, a fourth-grade teacher at Gilder Elementary in Omaha. Kid-friendly magazines are one place to start, she said, and graphic novels are another.
“There is an online program that our district (Bellevue Public Schools) subscribes to called Raz-Kids. The program has hundreds of books that the kids can listen to, read and quiz themselves over and then a fun little incentive program with stars as rewards. The site is accessible at home and here at school,” said Sarah Roth, a second-grade teacher at LeMay Elementary in Bellevue.
To learn more about Raz-Kids, visit raz-kids.com/. Other districts may subscribe to different programs, so check with your child’s school.
Looking for good books for your child to read? We offer lists recommended by teachers and school librarians. Visit Omaha.com/Living.
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