This year, make it a priority to read more books to your child. The more books you read the more your child will learn to love books and therefore, love to read books when they're older.
If your child is older then it's still not too late. Your child will begin to love books when you make the experience fun by having a shared family reading whereby one person will read a page or chapter and then swap with the next person.
When my children were young I read many books to them during the day and also before bedtime. During the day, they loved the cosiness of sitting on my lap and during the night, they loved the quiet bonging time over a book.
Now that they are teenagers, they still enjoy reading together. It depends on the book. If it's fairly thin then we'd read a chapter each. If it's a thick non-fiction then we'd individually read a chapter, make a summary and report back to the others. And needless to say they love reading on their own as well.
Below are some ways to get you started on reading more books to your child this year.
1. Buy or borrow books
There are different ways that you can get access to books. Of course, the first is to go to the bookstore but this might be costly for some parents. So here are some inexpensive alternatives.
a. Visit the library - This is an obvious one but how often do parents make use of their local library? If you're not a member of your local library then go down sometime this week to get yourself and your child a library card. Once you have that done then explore all the books that they have to offer!
b. Second-hand Bookstores, Charity Shops or Garage Sales - I love these places! It's like going on a treasure hunt because you don't know what you'll find each time. You can get some really good books here for cheap. Sometimes, your local library will have a book sale. So look out for this as well. Once, I found an Arabic Tintin book! Now that's special.
c. Start a Book Swap - Get a box and put some books that you no longer want into it. Go to your family, friends and neighbours and ask them to donate any books that they don't want intot he box and in return they can choose a few other books from the box. Do this every month so that your child can enjoy the 'new' books as well as get some 'newer' ones.
d. Attend playgroups - Most playgroups will have a collection of books for young children. If you attend them regularly then you will get a chance to read different books to your child every week.
e. Go on online - If you can't so any of the above then go online and do a search for online books. More and more children's books are added all the time.
2. Schedule in the time
How many times have we bought books but have not read them, whether for ourselves or our child? We buy them then we say, "Yeah, I'll get to it soon" but soon doesn't come and it just sits there on the bookshelf. This happens with children's books too. It won't get read if we don't schedule in the time to read it.
If you don't have time during the day then the best time would be just before bedtime. Every. Day. The bedtime story is the most important. This is a quiet time of storytelling (reading) and bonding. Research has found that children whose parents read then bedtime stories everyday do well academically.
But it's not just about academics. It's about instilling the love of reading. It's about bonding with your child over a story. It's about lessons that can be taught from stories.
3. Make it consistent
Read. Every. Day.
If you read every day then you'll see the benefits quicker. Your child will look forward to this special time with you and it'll be the one thing that they can count on.
If you want your child to love reading and, at the same time, bond with your child then do these things to be able to read more books to him or her this year.