Each year parents and children across the United States, supported by schools, libraries, and educational institutions, celebrate National Reading Month.
Founded to celebrate the birthday of the favorite author of millions of children, Dr. Seuss, National Reading Month is aimed at giving kids and teens a chance to improve their reading skills and make reading a daily habit.
You can participate in National Reading Month activities, too. Without leaving home, and even if you live outside the US. Because the celebration starts in your mind.
Take a look at the list of proposed family activities. They are short and easy activities designed to help you find new ways to engage children in reading.
Most of the activities involve kids, but some are aimed at letting you try new opportunities that your children would enjoy later.
National Reading Month is an excellent opportunity for parents to spend more time with kids and books. How are you going to celebrate?
How to celebrate National Reading Month?
1. Take your kid to a bookshop
Spending 15 minutes in a bookshop on the way back from school is not a great sacrifice, but it can be an effective way to show your kid books give pleasure and make people smart.
Explore hot new releases in the kid lit section, read aloud a first few sentences, or involve the bookshop staff in choosing the book for your child.
You don’t need to buy anything. Just show your kid how exciting it is to explore new books in the bookshop.
2. Read aloud to a child in the morning
Parents usually read aloud to their children in the evening, as the last thing before sleep. It’s a wonderful habit. Sometimes, however, both you and your child may feel too tired to enjoy the reading time fully.
Break the rule. How about reading in bed together, but in the morning? Weekends are easy to imagine, but you can also try doing it on a working day, as well – especially that you don’t have to read for an hour. Ten minutes are enough to make you both happy.
3. Let your child see you reading
Many people read less than they would like because they are focused on everyday duties – work, family, children.
Let’s see it from a different perspective. Isn’t teaching your child to love books one of your duties?
One of the best ways to fulfill this duty is by example. Don’t read books only when your child is asleep. Try to read during a day. Show your kid books are important to you.
4. Place books everywhere in your home
Sometimes a book placed within reach of the hand can do more than a large bookshelf.
Here is a simple idea. Spend 15 minutes to take the books that might be interesting for your child (now or in the future), and place them in the most commonly used places: a coffee table in the living room, a table in the dining room, a bathroom, or windowsills.
Create a feeling of being surrounded by books. Give yourself and your child the chance to reach for a book as often as possible.
And do yourself a favor and don’t put the books back on the bookshelf when you clean the house.
5. Rediscover Dr. Seuss books and quotes
On March 2, 1904, Dr. Seuss was born. He is surely responsible for your happy childhood, and the happy childhood of your kid.
Devote one evening to get together with your child, go through the most inspiring Dr. Seuss books you have at home (you still have them, right?), and pick up the wisest passages.
Which Dr. Seuss quote do you like the most? Does your child agree with you?
6. Check out National Reading Month deals
From year to year, more and more individuals and institutions celebrate National Reading Month.
Major online stores get involved in the celebrations as well, offering special deals throughout the entire month.
Amazon National Reading Month celebrations include deals on print and ebook editions of several popular books. Most importantly, you can buy Kindle e-readers and Fire tablets at reduced prices.
The deepest discounts are offered on special versions that are addressed to children: Kindle for Kids Bundle or Amazon Fire Kids Edition.
7. Consider giving your child a device to read ebooks
When it comes to children’s literature, nothing beats print editions. On the other hand, ebooks offer flexibility, accessibility, and portability.
In the ideal world, your child would mostly read print books, and pick up ebooks when it’s more convenient.
How about testing what your child feels about reading on the screen? You don’t have to buy a new device right away. All you can do is take out the old Kindle or tablet from the wardrobe and set it up for your child.
8. Share ebooks from your Kindle account
The easiest way to let your child read ebooks is to connect her or his device with your Kindle or Kobo or Barnes & Noble Nook account.
The next thing is to buy an ebook (or even better – the comic book) your kid would be willing to read and download it to the device.
9. Give it a try to Kindle in Motion
Ebooks, just like other kinds of digital content (naming only games), offer something your kid likes very much: interactivity.
One of the best examples of how involving an enhanced ebook can be is the so-called Kindle in Motion. It’s a special format that makes it possible to include interactive elements, videos, and custom backgrounds in the ebook.
Here is the idea: download a free sample of the Kindle in Motion edition of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and explore it together with your child.
10. Test Amazon FreeTime Unlimited
Are you an Amazon customer? Is your child willing to use the tablet not only for watching movies? It looks like you can give your child a chance to use Amazon FreeTime Unlimited.
Amazon FreeTime Unlimited is a subscription-based service ($2.99/month) that offers unlimited access to over 13,000 kid-friendly books, movies, TV shows, educational apps, and games.
The content is suitable for kids between 3 and 12 years old. It’s available on Amazon Fire tablets, Kindle e-readers, or Android phones and tablets.
A free trial gives full access to the service for 30 days. Sign up for the service and decide whether to cancel or keep the subscription at the end of March.
11. Give it a try to Amazon Rapids
There is even a more entertaining way to involve kids in reading. It’s called Amazon Rapids.
It’s an innovative platform that offers entertaining kid stories that are delivered in a unique form that resembles a chat application.
The stories from Amazon Rapids are told just like the characters were chatting with each other. Opposite to regular chat apps, however, these stories are beautifully illustrated.
12. Turn your smartphone into an audiobook player
If you own a smartphone, you can start using it as an audiobook player in a couple of minutes.
Or, even better, you can play an audiobook to your child anytime and anywhere you can imagine.
There are several great audiobook apps for iPhone and iPad or Android-powered phones and tablets. Pick up the app you like most, and you will be able to test audiobooks a few seconds later.
13. Set up your smart speaker to play audiobooks
While many people use their speakers to check out the weather, get news, or play music, these smart devices are the perfect audiobook players.
How to set up the speaker to play an audiobook? Just make sure you have an audiobook added to your account your speaker relies on. For instance, if you have Amazon Echo, you should have an Audible audiobook on your Amazon account.
14. Involve your kid in choosing an audiobook
Listening to audiobooks is a great way to keep children in the world of books when they have no chance or mood to read.
How to learn whether your kid will accept audiobooks? There is no better and quicker way than browsing for audiobooks together.
Audible offers over 20,000 children’s audiobooks. Among them, you will find Harry Potter, Wimpy Kid, or The Chronicles of Narnia. You will be able to listen to free samples of audiobooks – a fantastic way to get your kid involved.
15. Add reading with kids to your annual reading challenge
If you love books, you have most probably decided to take a year-long reading challenge.
Two months later, you can check out how many tasks you have completed. And modify the list to include tasks that involve reading together with your child.
Almost all reading challenges are designed for a single person, either an adult or a kid. Therefore, you have to be creative and create the tasks by yourself. How about doing it together with your child?
16. Rearrange the bookshelf together
March is when people start thinking about spring cleaning. To a greater or lesser extent, parents involve their kids in certain cleaning tasks.
Here is an idea: ask your child to help you clean books on a bookshelf and rearrange them.
For your kid, rearranging will be the cool part. Your child can sort the books by color, size, or author. You’ll be surprised to see how well it’s done!
Use the time spent together to talk about books, especially the ones that influenced your childhood. Which of the books you’ve found on the bookshelf would your child be willing to read?
17. Donate used books
When rearranging your bookshelf, think about which books you will definitely not need any longer. Put a few of them aside.
A stack of few books is a perfect reason to engage your child to the noble idea of donating used books.
Find the little free library in your neighborhood, or another book exchange point, and take your child there. Leave the books there, and spend some more time to find the books that might be interesting both for you and your child.
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