Education Opinion

Share a Story Shape a Future: Creating a Reading Culture at Home

By Donalyn Miller — March 05, 2012 2 min read
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Share a Story/ Shape a Future is an annual blog event to promote literacy, celebrate books, and provide resources to teachers, parents, librarians, and readers. Join us March 5th- 9th.

This year’s theme is The Culture of Reading.

This week’s hosts are:

Mon, 5 Mar: Creating a reading culture
host: Donalyn Miller @ The Book Whisperer

Tue, 6 Mar: Reading as a passport to other worlds / cultures
host: Carol Rasco @ Rasco from RIF

Wed, 7 Mar: Understanding Readers
host: Terry Doherty @ Family Bookshelf

Thu, 8 Mar: A Reading Universe
host: Terry Doherty @ Share a Story

Fri, 9 Mar: Dear Reader ...
host: Share a Story

Creating a Reading Culture at Home

Parents often ask teachers and librarians for tips on how to encourage their children to read more at home. The conditions that foster lifelong reading habits in children are remarkably robust and apply to both home and school reading. Here are some suggestions for parents who want to create a reading culture at home.

Dedicate time for reading. If we make time for what we value, we must set aside reading time each day. Set aside at least twenty minutes each day for family reading time. Each family member may read something of their choice or the family can gather for a shared read aloud.

Carry books. Add a book for every family member to your leaving the house checklist. Running errands, doctor and dental appointments, haircuts, shopping--all provide stolen opportunities to read when children (and adults) are waiting and bored.

Read aloud. For most children, sharing books with family members is their first experience with books. Reading aloud to your children, even into the teenage years, reinforces a pleasurable bond between books and family. Sharing books as a family creates memorable experiences and provides topics for discussions, too.

Provide access to books. Children should experience a “book flood,” with abundant access to a wide-range of reading material. Take children to the library, buy books as presents, and subscribe to children’s magazines.

Role model a reading life. Children mimic the behaviors we model for them. If they see adults reading daily and enjoying it, children are more likely to perceive reading as meaningful. Adults, who read and share their love of reading with children, send a powerful message that reading matters.

Allow children to choose books. Children should choose most of the books they read. Forcing children to read books that don’t interest them turns many kids off reading altogether. While you may bemoan the less than highbrow selections your child chooses to read, support his/her independence and self-direction as a reader by celebrating free choice.

Check out more suggestions for creating a reading culture from today’s guest bloggers:

Building a Reading Culture in the Secondary Classroom by Sarah Mulhern at The Reading Zone

Reading Culture and Preservice Teachers by Kristin McIlhagga at Children’s Literature Crossroads

Building a Classroom Reading Culture by Cynthia Alaniz at Teaching in Cute Shoes

Choice--Share a Story/ Shape a Future by Doris Herrman at Reading, Writing, and Chocolate

Creating a Reading Culture in Mrs. Selke’s Lair by Maria Selke at Maria’s Melange

Share a Story/ Shape a Future logo courtesy of Elizabeth Dulemba.

The opinions expressed in The Book Whisperer are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.