How to be a Reading Role Model

Ways and Ideas to Lead by Example to Develop a Love of Reading in Your Household

All parents can relate to hearing the collective groans of their children as mom or dad announce homework, reading, and chore time. Encouraging reading habits in your household works better when reading is not deemed as another chore. Make it fun and something to look forward to with a bit of spontaneity. Here are some ways to insert reading into the lives of your children and your entire family.

Read What They Read

You can read age appropriate books to younger children, or read the same book alongside your child, to create opportunities for discussions and shared observation. Help your child become more invested in the shared reading experience by exchanging thoughts about the characters and plot. 

The 5 W’s

To help your child invest more in their book pose the 5 W questions. Without dissecting the literature too much, you can ask essential questions about the main characters that provoke thought. For example, ask questions like these below: 

  1. Who is the main character? 
  2. What is the character’s personality like? 
  3. Why do think the main character acts a certain way? 
  4. Where does the story take place?
  5. When does the story take place? 

Consider Structure

For older children, encourage them to develop an opinion about the author’s purpose or style. Any of the following would be great questions to ask:

  • Why did the author choose to make the sentences or chapters long or short?
  • Is the language special, basic, or complex?
  • What is the mood of the story and what words show us the feeling of the story?
  • What is the main message that the author hopes the reader will get from reading the story?

Depending on each child’s interest and abilities, they might enjoy writing a journal entry or drawing a picture depicting a memorable scene from the book. Remember to keep it light and to participate with your child. They will get a kick out of watching you draw a main character or scene from your novel. 

Themed Books

Holiday time presents a great opportunity to visit the local bookstore, have kids select high interest, holiday themed books, as well as books that reflect your child’s interests. If they like non-fiction, your child may enjoy books based on multiple topics. For example, select books on science, history, sports, biographies, autobiographies, cookbooks, or art. 

Start a Conversation

Initiate brief, but meaningful discussions and connections based on events or characters that can be related to real life events and current topics.

Road Trips and Audiobooks

A lot of families will be travelling this holiday season. Plan ahead! Make family trips more enjoyable by allowing your child to select a few family friendly, high interest stories to listen to on the way to visit Grandma’s house. If the ages and reading levels vary greatly, have each child select their own audiobook and use their devices (cell phone, laptop or tablet) to listen to the story. Before you reach your destination, provide a time for everyone to take turns sharing what they are reading.

Do What I Say Not What I Do

Today’s kids look at the way we as adults routinely lead our lives. The best way to encourage reading is to provide the type of environment that shows reading for pleasure in a positive way. Let your kids see you reading. If your children see you reading and enjoying various types of literature for an enjoyable escape, they will be far more likely to make reading for entertainment and information a pleasurable part of their lives rather than a loathsome chore.

Happy reading and happy holidays!