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Establishing Good Reading Habits

Your children’s reading habits start with you.  By now, you know how important good reading habits are for setting your children up for success, but how do you make that happen?  Here’s what we did:

  1. Read Often – starting from the time our children were babies – before they could speak – we would read to our children.  At first, these were just the simple picture books.  You know the kind – the kind your baby boy can chew on while you show him the picture of a ball or a baloon.  As their attention span grew, we added longer stories.  We would pick up a book several times a day, and each night ended with the same routine:  Read a couple of stories, read a story from their children’s Bible, prayer, and bedtime.  (New Parents – performing this routine really helped us establish a regular bedtime for our children).
  2. Read Out Loud – well after our children were capable of reading to themselves, we continued reading out loud to them.  When the kids go to the library, they almost always pick out a book for Daddy to read to them.  Reading time is normally either right before dinner (while Mommy is fixing our evening meal), or right after dinner (while the older kids are taking care of the dishes).
  3. Dad MUST Read Too – I have to tell you, I think this is one of the most important rules if you want your sons to be good readers, but it’s great for your daughters to see you doing this as well.  If your boys see that Mom is the only one to ever read to them – if they never see dad sit down with a book – then reading will become a ‘girl thing’ and your boys will avoid it like the plague.  Dad’s, you’re doing your children a disservice if you’re not taking the lead in the reading effort.
  4. Reading Should Be FUN – Start by picking books that your children will enjoy.  Our main page has a list of books we recommend, with links so you can purchase them from the comfort of your own home.  But pick books that are fun.  Boys want excitement and adventure.  They want to hear about spies and detectives.  They want to read about epic battles, war, blood, and gore.  (I know moms, this may be repulsive to you – but remember, boys and girls are different.  Mom – you’re a girl – you’re not supposed to like all the same stuff your boys do).

    Your boys need to read about heroes if they’re to grow up learning what heroic actions are.  Most of all, avoid the books your boys will hate (those love stories have to go).  Nothing will turn off your boy from reading than constantly giving him books to read that he hates.

    Finally, do the voices.  If you’re reading Hank The Cowdog, then do different voices for Hank, Drover, and Pete the cat.  Read with inflection.  Your son should hear the cliffhanger in your voice.  Make reading exciting.

Reading is inexpensive fun.  Most people live within a short distance from a decent public library, and online sites allow you to purchase books at a discount and have them delivered directly to your door.  If your boys aren’t readers, why don’t you start today?  Check out our list of recommended books.