Want to Turn Your Child Into a Reader? Have This Many Books at Home
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Photo by Sebastien Lienard-Boisjoli/Flickr
If you want to raise your child to be a reader, you have to ask yourself one question first: “Am I a reader?” In the most recent study by Scholastic to determine how kids are fairing in the reading department, they found that how much a parent reads and how often that parent reads to their child are determining factors for kids who love to read.
Scholastic surveyed 2,500 families with kids aged 6 to 17 to ask them about their reading habits. Results showed that kids are most likely to be frequent readers (in the case of this survey, a frequent reader is someone who reads books for fun 5 to 7 days a week) if their parents are frequent readers, if they believe that reading is important and if they just truly and simply enjoy it.
Children ages 6 to 11 are also more likely to be readers if their parents read aloud to them most days of the week before they started preschool and if the child didn’t spend as much time on a computer. How many times do you read to your toddler? Parents of frequent readers read to their child 5 to 7 days a week.
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For kids aged 12 to 17, the number of books available at home is a determinant. The number of books in the home of a frequent reader is 205. Compare that to the number of books in the home of an infrequent reader (that’s someone who reads for fun less than a day in a week, for this survey) which comes at 129 books. That’s almost double.
Other determinants include reading a book of choice independently during a school day, having been told their reading level by a teacher and having a parent who encourages them to read.
It’s common for a child’s interest in reading books to decline by the time they reach 8 years old. The survey showed that there was a huge gap between the number of books read by frequent readers and infrequent reader ages 12 to 17; that’s 39.6 books to 4.7 books consecutively. This gasp wasn’t as far apart for 6- to 11-year-olds at 43.4 and 21.1 average number of books read in a year.
And, of course, the study also asked kids about their screen time use. Unsurprisingly, overall, frequent readers spent less time watching TV, playing apps, going online, texting and calling on a smartphone, and checking social media sites compared to frequent readers.
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If you’d like to start encouraging your kids to read more, maybe it’s time to consider expanding your home library. Plus, you can also couple that with some parenting strategies the parent-respondents have reported to use.
1. Putting a limit on screen time
2. Incorporating reading into their child’s daily routine
3. Reading the same books as their child so they can talk about the book together
4. Giving their child a reward for reading books
You can also employ this simple tactic a dad did that turned his son into a book-lover. At 8 years old, Christopher Reiss’ college teacher dad would simply place a library book in his room every week for him to see.
“Once a week, a library book would just appear in my room. They were of all different genres, some written for kids, some not. I can't tell you more because I didn't read them. I felt no pressure to. I just got used to them appearing.”
He kept at it. And kept at it. Week after week. Month after month. He only ever said "just give it a look,” he wrote on Quora.com.
Eventually The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis caught his eye. He was hooked from then on and has been an avid reader ever since.
Undated. "The State of Kids & Reading". scholastic.com
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