You really don’t need a fancy book nook or a walls of built-in bookshelves to raise good readers. All you need is a cozy spot with good light and a selection of books. Setting up a reading space is as easy as A, B, C!
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A…Appropriate books: Gather books that appeal to your child’s interests and that are just right for your child’s current reading level. These books are the ones that the child is motivated to read, and that the child can manage independently. (But that still provide a bit of challenge to encourage reading growth.)
How do you know which books are the best? Gather some books that look interesting to your child. Have your child use the five finger rule: Open a new book to a page inside. Read the page. Hold up one finger each time you come to a word you don’t know. If you get to five on that page, the book is too tricky. If you’ve held up 0 or 1 finger, the book is probably too easy. If you’re somewhere in between, you’re ready to read! Reading Rockets provides some great additional information on selecting books for your child.
Put some thought into organizing your books so they’re accessible. I like picture books and board books facing outward for young readers, and bins or magazine files organized by title, subject or author for bigger kids.
B…Books, books, books: The single most important thing in a literacy-rich home is obviously books. Become collectors of books on topics that interest your child. Fall in love with authors, and read every book that author writes. Give books as holiday gifts or to celebrate special days, like first days of school or half-birthdays. Make regular visits to your local library and download e-books and audio books. Look for ways to get discounted books. One example is Scholastic Reading Club, which is offered through many schools. Find new-to-you books at book swaps, garage sales and thrift stores. Check out book loaner services like Epic.
C…Carve out some time and space. Ask your child to identify a few great reading spots in your home. A cozy chair, a beanbag, a fort under the table… Just make sure they have good light. (Headlamps and reading lights can be helpful in some spots.) Create a regular time for reading so you know it will happen at least once a day. Many families have nightly reading before bed, but breakfast reading is great too! On super busy days, try audiobooks in the car. Whatever works for you!