Welcome to part 5, the final part of the Learning to Read Series!
Maintaining Interest Over Time~
In the past posts of this series we’ve talked about integrating books into your day and ways to prepare your child for reading with phonics and phonemic awareness. The last thing I wanted to share in this series goes along with the main lesson you can teach your child before they even get to school~ reading is fun! The easiest way to keep this going with my kids is doing all I can to maintain their interest.
1. Go to the library. Going to the library offers so many benefits.
- Some libraries offer story time. It’s always nice for kids to hear stories read by other adults. It exposes them to stories you may not have picked yourself, allows them to see books being enjoyed by a whole community, and allows you to sit and enjoy being read to with your child!
- Of course the obvious benefit of going to the library is you can continually check out new books. It’s fun to browse at all the books with Lucy and see what she’s drawn to. And sometimes I’m reminded of favorite authors or books when I’m there that I can’t wait to check out and share with her at home. I usually allow Lucy to choose 5 books to check out, and I add in a few.
She loves checking them out herself on the computer! We have a special spot we keep our library books at home. Having these new books around each week keeps Lucy’s interest in books going strong!
2. Change your books around. You don’t need to constantly be buying new books, even just moving your current books to new places can reignite your child’s interest in long, forgotten books. We have a few places in the house where we keep books~ a basket in the family room, shelves in Lucy’s room and
Theo’s room, and a bookcase in our playroom. Sometimes I just shuffle the books around~ trade some out of Lucy’s shelves and put in some new ones, or take some board books off the bookshelf in the playroom and add them to our basket of books in the family room. This invites your child to enjoy a book they may not have seen in a while.
3. Make book sets. Create sets of books that go together by theme, genre, author etc. I have books grouped by the seasons and holidays that I rotate out as the year goes by. We always look forward to our new sets of books coming out. (Lucy is already talking about her favorite winter books she can’t wait to see.)
Not only can grouping books into sets grab your child’s attention, but your child often may experience the book in a different way. For example, Lucy loves reading Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert. When I have it grouped with our fall books, she makes many connections to fall as we’re reading it. But, when I have it grouped with other books by Lois Elhret, she’s more drawn to the illustrations and storytelling as we’re reading. It’s so fun to mix books up into different groups and sets and see how your child views familiar books in a new way.
3. Reread the same books. You can still maintain your child’s interest in books even by rereading the same books over and over. (I don’t know how many times I’ve read a book to Lucy that I’ve read a million times, and she points something out to me I had never noticed in all the prior readings. Old books never really get ‘old’!)
The first few times we read a new story, we just simply read it for enjoyment. I never really stop and ask questions or point things out. I just read it, and let us both take what we do from the story. As we become more familiar with the story after a few readings, we begin to talk more as we’re reading it. We talk about what something in the story reminds us of (maybe another book or something we’ve done in our lives). We talk about the illustrations or ideas. We even talk about words and punctuation marks. “What’s that mystery mark for?” Lucy asked me once. (She was referring to a question mark.) You can use these opportunities to teach your child just about anything~ language, comprehension, vocabulary, spelling, punctuation…. the list is endless!
4. Notice writing around you. Anywhere you go you see words~ signs, notes, receipts, recipes~
we are surrounded by words. Point them out and share them with your child. They will start to better understand the importance of reading and the various ways we use it in our everyday lives.
4. Make your own books. Allowing children the freedom to make their own books maintains their interest in reading. My magic purchase was a stapler. The day I stapled some blank paper together into a ‘book’ is the day Lucy took off making endless stories herself. Sometimes she draws the
pictures and narrates the book to me (great opportunity to model writing if your child wants you to write their narration in the book for them) and sometimes she likes to write some words herself. (Her favorite thing to do is write ‘by Lucy’ on the cover of each book.)
5. Cuddle! The best way I’ve found to maintain your child’s interest in books is to make it cuddle time! Lucy and Theo always want to read in our laps. Imagine how safe and loved children feel as they are sharing special stories with you. Occasionally I even get impromptu kisses and hugs as we’re reading! Cuddling up together and reading won’t last forever, so take advantage of it while you can!
I have really enjoyed sharing my reading experiences with you! It’s been so fun hearing back from many of you, through comments and emails, sharing your own personal reading experiences as well!
You can see previous parts of the series here~
Part 1- Making Books Accessible
Part 2- Making Books Part of Your Routine
Part 3- Following Your Child’s Lead
Part 4- Phonics & Phonemic Awareness Activities