With 2015 quickly coming to an end, it's that time of year when we make semi-meaningless commitments of self-improvement and good intentions. Personally, I embarked on what is now a decade-long pledge to become a gym rat (maybe 2016 will be the year!). While aspiring to your personal best is never a bad thing, the coming of the New Year is also a good opportunity to set some reading goals for yourself and your young reader at home.
Good literacy habits develop over time, and can be encouraged at any age or stage of reading. There are lots of fun and creative ways that you can encourage a love of reading, and foster the skills necessary for good literacy habits and lifelong learning. As a parent or caregiver you are your child's first teacher and role model, and good reading habits start with you. These are just a few simple tips and activities that you can incorporate into your daily and weekly routine.
Visit the library once a week - Establishing a visit to the library as part of your weekly routine is a great way to get kids excited about borrowing materials and reading. Find a branch near you!
Read aloud every day - Reading aloud to your child is an invaluable activity that you can share together. Right from birth, reading aloud promotes the literacy skills necessary to become a strong reader, and also an eagerness towards books and learning.
Create a comfortable reading space at home - A great reading environment is important. Make sure it is away from the television and computer, and other distractions. You can get creative with this, like building a blanket fort!
Encourage your child to choose their own books - Reading is fun! When kids are able to pick out books for themselves not only do they get the satisfaction of making that decision, but also explore their own interests.
Attend a Ready for Reading Storytime - Toronto Public Library offers lots of great programs for young learners that encourage a love of reading in fun ways.
Explore the non-fiction section - Borrow a book of poetry, or one about your child's favourite animal. Read about interesting facts, events, and ideas.
Follow a recipe together while preparing supper - Reading and following instructions is a good exercise for children. This is also something fun (and messy) that you can do together.
Start a list of books as you read them - Take note of all the books you read and by the end of the year you'll have a nice long list to be proud of! You can also compile a list of books you hope to read together.
TPL is a great resource for raising strong readers, and makes reading resolutions much more feasible than waking up earlier and eating more fruit.