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Even though Children's Book Week is celebrated in Australia, this definitely should be celebrated internationally since it promotes reading among young children. It is both an educational and fun event which has a goal to make children fall in love with reading and their favorite characters. However, with the advanced digital technology today sometimes it’s quite challenging for parents to inspire children to start reading.
We know that between 0 to 5 years old, reading is essential to children's learning, so we need to encourage it.
When I was a pre-school teaching assistant, we read to the kids at least once a day and never shied away from a child who brought a book to us to read to them. All around the classroom, there were signs, words, letters. Everything was labeled with a photo of what it was along with the spelled out word. One of my favorite things I made for the classroom was an Alphabet Train. Each car was a letter, with different animals or objects in everyday life that started with that letter. The kids absolutely LOVED it. We focused on one letter each week.
How to Celebrate the Joy of Reading For Children's Book Week
Pull Out The “Lost” Books
In our home, we have several totes of books. I often swap them out (once a year) so that it's like getting new books all over again. Our youngest son has his selection of books stashed away in his bedroom in a built in shelf. I did the same thing when I was the teaching assistant. We had 2-3 milk crates filled with books that we would swap out every month or sooner if we saw that the kids were not drawn to the books anymore. There were a few that we left out all of the time that were classroom favorites.
Head to the local library
What is the best way to start preparing for Book Week than to visit the local library? Take your children and let them choose the types of books and characters they prefer. Be there to assist them by offering them some choices. For the youngest ones, there are many books with illustrations and even 3-D books which can attract their attention from an early age. As they grow up, they’ll be more self-confident in choosing the books they like. And when they develop their own taste in reading, you can treat them with some books in their favorite bookstores. A lot of stores have specials during Children's Book Week so take advantage of them.
Now that you are fully equipped with the reading material, it’s time to get your children reading it. If your children are young and don’t have their reading skills developed yet, read the stories out loud. Along the way, it is a good idea to discuss the illustrations and ask some questions. On the other hand, if your children are old enough to read, make it a fun activity and have them read some shorter stories out loud themselves. In that way, you’ll make them involved in the reading process. You can conclude the activity by asking some questions like “Who’s your favorite character and why? What’s the moral of the story? What would you do in that situation?” and others depending on the book. These questions will make them think about the book and the underlying ideas it offers.
Read different types of books too. If you're a religious or spiritual person, read books that relate to your beliefs. Also read other books from other beliefs and talk about the similarities and differences in the books. This is a great way for both of you to learn together. When your child sees that you're open to learning new things, it gives them the key to unlock that door also.
Make reading interactive
Besides just plain reading, you can connect it with other interactive activities as well to make it even more wholesome and enjoyable. A good way to do this is by giving children an idea to create their own personal story. They can make a comic or even a short story with illustrations, dialogues or text. Encourage them to read it aloud or to act it out. This will boost their creativity. They can imagine some more stories about their favorite characters and put them on paper. They can also learn some songs connected to their treasured books or watch some YouTube videos featuring some book characters. The sky is the limit here!
We have a plethora of cookbooks in our home. Several cookbooks are from organizations that compiled recipes from their families. When you make reading less of a chore and more of a fun activity, a lot of times, kids don't realize that they are reading. From the actual recipes, to measuring utensils, to finding the ingredients in the pantry, they are all ways to incorporate reading.
Organize a party
An activity which will definitely draw their attention to reading: a book-themed party. You can organize a party where children from the class or neighborhood dress up in costumes of their favorite book characters. They can create their own versions or you can even rent Book Week costumes for kids. You can implement some book-themed activities such as acting out some parts of books, drawing their favorite scenes, reading some parts aloud, sing-along and many other educational activities, which will be so entertaining that they won’t even notice how much they are learning along the way!
Remember, it's not just for the smaller kids
Too often, we're focused on paving the way for the younger kids to read and get educated that we often push aside the older children in our family. You need to include all of the children in their respected reading levels. The older children can help read to the younger and vice versa. Or you and your older child can partner up and read the same book and discuss parts of the book through a “secret book club” that consists of just the two of you.
Children (both young and older) mimic what they see and hear
When children see you reading regularly it encourages them to do the same. As their reading skills developed, they’ll develop their imagination and creativity as well. Since reading is the key to literacy and numeracy (both an important part of every child’s life), it is up to parents to present their children with reading as something essential and useful. It will have only positive effects on them during their education and life generally. The overall conclusion is: try to make reading an amusing and useful activity and we’re sure your children will grow to love it. When you celebrate children's book week, you're showing them also, that reading is to be celebrated and enjoyed, not a task that they have to do just because mom or dad says.
Here are a few books for different age groups that I highly recommend
[author] [author_image timthumb='on']https://twitter.com/EmmaWilliams204/photo[/author_image] [author_info]Emma Williams is an Australian writer with a master‘s degree in business administration, who has a passion for anything lifestyle and design related. She spends most of her time redecorating and participating in house projects. As a great nature lover, her biggest pleasure is spending time in a small cottage by the river. https://twitter.com/EmmaWilliams204[/author_info] [/author]