One of the girls favorite things to do when we are traveling is to read. On a plane, on a train, in a car, or on a tropical beach… you get it, they love to read wherever we are. Reading is one of the most important skills a child will learn. It has been proven over and over that children who read and enjoy reading will develop a creative imagination and a desire to learn that will last a lifetime.
Childhood is all about experiencing magical moments and we as parents encouraged this since the girls were born. The day Maddie came home from the hospital Pete started reading to her. I thought it was silly at the time since she would just stare at him, but within days she seemed to really enjoy it. She had reflux and would cry for 23 hours a day, but reading seemed to calm her down.
As she got older, and our family grew, we created more ways to encourage their love of reading with these 8 ways to make reading magical for your children.
1. A Reading Nook. There are so many creative ways to set up a special reading place. It can be as simple as a corner full of pillows, or as elaborate as a tent with twinkling lights and hanging stars. Pinterest is full of amazing and beautiful ideas just waiting to be brought to life in your home. An inviting and special place to read will encourage your children to discover magic in their books.
2. Read Out Loud. Start at a very young age reading books out loud to your children. There is something powerful about the sound of a mother’s or father’s voice reading stories to their children. Reading creates a strong bond and sense of discovery between parents and their children. Set a good example to your children by reading often to them and making it a part of your weekly routine.
3. Read in Fun Places. Find fun and unusual places for your children to read. Go outside, lay out a a blanket, and read looking up at the clouds or stars. Let your child hide under the covers with a flashlight, and read a spooky children’s book. The possibilities are endless. Have your child bring a book with them everywhere you go.
4. Visit the location of a books setting. Pick one of your children’s books that they love, and visit the setting of the book. The zoo, a museum, a park… Bring to life the books setting and, talk about what the characters in the book must have seen and felt.
5. Read a book and then go see it as a play. There are quite a few children’s books that have been made into plays. Check out your local theaters for play listings. Have your child read the book and then go watch the play. It will bring the characters on the page to life on stage.
6. Help your child write their own book. Reading isn’t only about the work of others. It is the inspiration to tell stories yourself. Encourage your child to write her own book. It doesn’t have to be long. Just a few sentences or paragraphs. Help them staple some papers together in book form. Give them plenty of markers to illustrate their story. “Publish” it in front of the whole family by having them read it out loud.
7. Go to the Library. Yes. Local libraries still exist! Take a trip to the library and let your child soak in the smell and sight of rows and rows of books. The library environment creates an atmosphere that encourages readers to dive into a book. Many libraries also offer great children activities such as book clubs, story time groups, crafting groups, reading incentive programs, and so much more.
8. Make or recreate recipes found in a book or time period. Many books bring food and cuisine into the story. Bring their favorite books to life by experiencing another one of the five senses…Taste! There is something magical about drinking Butter Beer from Harry Potter books or enjoying a warm homemade cookie after reading “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.”