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Raising a Reader

From PBS 'Between the Lions' Show

How do you raise a child to be an enthusiastic and consistent reader? TV, videogames, computers, and other modern distractions sometimes make it difficult for children to focus on reading.

Here are some strategies that the diligent parent can use to help motivate a child to read. Try them all -- what doesn't work one day may work well the next.

  • Visit your local library often. Get your children their own library cards. Try a story hour or other free event at the library.
  • Check out the local bookstore. A book or gift certificate always makes a terrific gift.
  • At the library, let your child choose some of the books.
  • Let your child see you reading, whether it's the newspaper, a magazine, or the latest bestseller.
  • Encourage older children to read to their younger brothers and sisters. Or have the whole family set aside some time to read together!
  • Show your child how people use reading all the time. Read aloud street and store signs, maps, billboards, menus, and labels on packages.
  • Create a library for your child of new or used books. Look for affordable books at yard sales, secondhand book stores, and library book sales.
  • Set up an area in your home where a variety of reading materials are within easy reach. Encourage writing by including paper, crayons, pens and pencils.
  • Subscribe to a children's magazine. Read it with your child every month.
  • Carry books to read to your child wherever you go - at the doctor's office, in line at the store, or on a long car ride. (You can also listen to stories on tape.)
  • Encourage a love of words by playing rhyming and word games, singing silly songs, or writing poems and stories together.
  • Talk about daily activities or tell stories about your family or culture to help children develop their language skills.
  • Visit the Between the Lions web site (pbskids.org/lions) for more on children and reading.

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