Encouraging Children to Read
Creating engaged, confident lifelong readers doesn’t just happen in isolation. It takes a school-wide reading culture with strong home-school partnerships to help foster literacy and reading.
—-Emma Smoldon, National Library of New Zealand
How do you make a life-long learner? First, one must be a life-long reader. However, the formation of a life-long reader won’t happen overnight, rather requires both home and school working together in symbiosis, to create an atmosphere where children reading will flourish. Books, with their internal infinite treasures, are just waiting to be explored and mined by hearts eager for knowledge and understanding; books, also as mentor and friend, are ready to accompany our growth in the collision and exchange of ideas.
So, during this home-study period, how do we encourage children to recognise the book-mentors and friends all around them? Fortunately for us, the BWYA librarians have already done a lot of digging and mining, creating their own collection of nearly 300 separate resources; which they are sharing on the library website and Office365, as well as other platforms for teachers and students at BWYA to enjoy, learn from, and delve into these rich resources remotely.
In addition, the BWYA library team have also put together a valuable list of home-reading suggestions we can all use to create a positive reading atmosphere.
Here are some suggestions on how you can help your child become an avid reader of books and e-books. Please note that, the more you can involve your child in making choices and decisions, the more your child will become engaged in the reading activities described below. For children in the primary years, these activities can be carried out with some adult guidance and supervision. Middle School children can take leadership roles, and include parents, grandparents and siblings in the activities.
1. CREATE A READING AREA.
Together with your child, choose a place in your home that will be a special area, just for reading. Invite your child to share ideas about how to make this place comfortable. Do you have bean bags to sit on? Or some soft comfortable chairs? A rocking chair? A nice soft rug? Some table lamps, for good light? How can your child personalize this space?
2. ASK YOUR CHILD TO CHOOSE BOOKS.
Make decisions together, about what books your child wishes to read. Pay attention to the kinds of books your child enjoys reading the most. Then, see if you can encourage her or him to try reading a book from a different genre. Examples: mysteries, action/adventure, historical fiction, graphic novels, stories about friendships, or adversity, overcoming challenges… If you need ideas or advice, you can turn to the school librarians and teachers for help.
3. PLAN TIME FOR LEISURE READING.
In addition to school-related reading assignments, set aside time for reading, just for the pleasure of reading. You can include this in any daily or weekly schedule you are following, for classes and homework. Build this precious time for leisure reading into every day.
4. USE A WEEKLY READING CHART.
Reading charts can help a child have a visual record to keep track and encourage more reading. This can become a game, or a competition with classmates. Your child can use her/his own creativity to design the chart, and maintain it, with parental guidance.
5. IF YOU GO OUTSIDE, LOOK FOR OPPORTUNITIES TO READ IN UNEXPECTED PLACES.
Reading is everywhere! Menus, billboard advertisements, signs in shops. Make a game! Imagine and write your own short stories based on the signs you see all around you.
6. TEACH YOUR CHILD BY SETTING A GOOD EXAMPLE.
What do you read on a daily basis? Parents can also set aside time to read! Set an example. Let your child see that you are not always using social media, or using a computer for work. Read, read, read!
7. FIND AND REGISTER WITH ONLINE SOURCES OF E-BOOKS.
The team at BWYA have compiled a rich collection of online reading resources. Here is a selection of available materials.
Capital Library in Beijing offers hundreds of eBooks, in English and Chinese.
As we continue our quest in “creating engaged, confident lifelong readers” we have prepared a padlet with resources to support our students reading and learning at home. These 16 online reading resources were carefully selected by the BWYA librarians, and include English e-books and audiobooks.
Please scan the QR codes below to access these resources.
This resource is suitable for guiding children to study at home. Suitable for K-G9 students.With regard to math, science, reading books, exercises, benchmarks, teacher resources and worksheets are provided.
Here are two additional websites that provide several ideas and suggestions that may help families to strengthen their children’s reading habits and promote their love for books:
8. TALK WITH YOUR CHILD ABOUT WHAT SHE/HE IS READING.
Ask questions! Have a day-by-day update on what’s happening in the book(s) you are reading. Make sure you share with your child what you are reading. Read passages to one another that you have found particularly moving, or beautiful, or even…passages that are confusing. Help your child to reflect on what she / he is reading, by talking about it.
9. ORGANIZE FUN, OR EVEN FUNNY, READING ACTIVITIES.
Hold a silent dinner, where family members take turns reading aloud, while others listen, and eat.
Set up a campsite in your living room! Sit under a tent (or a blanket over some chairs), read with a torch.
Your child can read to a grandparent, a parent, a sibling, or to a favorite plush toy. If everyone agrees, you can capture this on video.
Enjoy a tea-drinking / book-reading party, with family members, with plush toys…. Make a short film about it!
10. IN THE EVENING, BEFORE BED-TIME, READ WITH YOUR CHILD.
Make reading part of your child’s night-time routine. This habit helps your child learn to associate reading with relaxation.