Teaching your child the importance of reading from a young age is critical to the development of a wide range of skills. From literacy and vocabulary expansion to better concentration and empathy skills, reading offers unlimited benefits. However, recent statistics show a decline in kids choosing to read for fun. These days, kids prefer playing with apps and video games over reading a book.

According to Scholastic’s Kids and Family Reading Report, both parents and children agree that reading skills are the most important skills a kid can have. So in honor of Read Across America Day, we’re coming up with ways you can prepare your child for a lifetime of learning and adventure through a love of reading. Here’s how:

Read aloud to your child at a young age.

Most parents read aloud to their young children as a way of bonding, but research shows that reading aloud to kids from birth all the way up to age 11 builds a powerful connection with books that may influence your kids to become an avid reader in the future. Although we hope our kids will always choose to read for fun, the truth is that reading can fall by the wayside as they grow older if they don’t build the habit early.

Limit screen time and encourage storytime.

In the age of smartphones, apps, and tablets, it’s nearly impossible to avoid exposing your child to technology. Once they discover various media, it can be difficult to get them to focus on anything else, let alone read a book. That’s why it’s important to restrict your child’s screen time and enforce reading time insteadno exceptions. By setting limits on how long they’re allowed to use a device, you’ll be encouraging your child to devote time to reading rather than staring at a screen.

Lead by example.

As a parent, you can share the value of reading by picking up a book in your own spare time. Children learn by observation, so it’s important that you also dedicate time to reading instead of watching television or playing on your device.

Let them choose what they want to read.

Kids love making their own choices, which is why it’s important to let them decide what they want to read. The more free range they’re given, the more they’ll learn to enjoy reading on their own. Allowing your child to pick and choose not only builds a bond with the act of reading itself, but it also gives them the opportunity to develop their individual taste when it comes to books.

Talk to them about what they’ve read.

When kids are enthusiastic about something, they can talk about it for hours. Encourage your child to discuss their favorite books or what they’re reading in school by asking questions and listening, even if it takes a really long time.

 

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As a former nanny and oldest child, Alex recognizes the many challenges that both families and sitters face on a daily basis. As a Sittercity team member, she's thrilled to use her skills and experience to make child care finally work.