Submitted by Meghan Morton
In our information rich culture it is clear that reading is a vital literacy skill. Unfortunately, many children struggle with their reading and parents are at a loss as to how to help them while avoiding yet another fight about homework. While homework is very important, you will be glad to know that reading success is less about homework and more about family culture. It’s about what we as a family show we value by our choices and the way we use our time and resources.
Family culture is apparent in several parts of our lives. These are great places to create a change and show what we value.
Space: We have special spaces set up in our homes for the things we value — places to sleep, eat, wash and watch TV. Show that your family values reading by creating a cosy reading space in your home with blankets, pillows, comfy chairs and, of course, lots to read!
Role Models: Kids are smart, if you tell them reading is important but they never see you doing it they won’t believe you, and really, why should they? If they see you reading and enjoying it they will know that it is important whether you say it or not.
Time: Reading as a family clearly illustrates that your family values reading as well as time with each other!
Availability: Have books, magazines and yes, even comic books easily accessible in your home. If you notice that when your kids pull all the books off the shelf they find it hard to focus on one or two, try putting a rotating selection in a basket for your children to enjoy each week.
Interests: Embrace curiosity in your family. Ask questions and encourage your kids to ask questions. Teach your children the skills to find information in books and how to determine what credible sources on the Internet look like. Asking questions and seeking answers is a fundamental trait of our greatest explorers, scientists and thinkers.
Want more ideas on how to promote a family culture of reading and a love of learning? Join Muffins and More — a program put on by Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy for adults who want to learn and discuss ways to facilitate their school-aged child’s learning. There is also a program at the same time for your children that are not yet in school! For more information contact Meghan Morton, Community Literacy Coordinator at email@example.com or (250) 946-6474.