My children’s literacy development is a topic that is important to me. First, I love reading and I would like to share my love of books with my children. Second, as we are a bilingual family, I have to make sure the children get enough input in both German and French and reading children books is great for this. This is all the more important for us as we have to deal with speech delay too. I am looking for ways to make the children read more books. Here are some ideas to develop the love of reading in your family.
Read out loud to the children
This is very important to help children love books and improve their vocabulary. We do not read every night but we try to. I read both French and German books to the two children who cannot read yet. My daughter can read well in German so she is reading German books herself and I am reading French books to her. Once she is very comfortable with reading in German, I will work with her on her French so that she can read in French too.
Suscribe to a children magazine
We receive three different children magazines per mail every month. These are French children magazines, the same that I read as a child. We sometimes buy German children magazines but I have not found one German magazine for small children that I really like yet. I have long wondered why the French children magazines are so much more qualitative than the German children magazines. I got an answer a few years ago while waiting for my plane with my daughter in an airport. We sat near a woman who turned up to be a German professor specialized in children development. She explained to me that German people though little children were developing mostly through manipulating objects and interacting with their environment. French people on the other side think that little children should be stimulated intellectually early though books and similar activities. You can notice this difference in nursery schools too. German nursery schools tend to let children free to choose their activities and work on what they are interested in whereas the French nursery schools have a more structured curriculum.
Help your children to write their own books
This is a fun activity that will help your children to develop their literacy and their creativity. It will also help them to love books more. I wrote a few short books with my daughter. We drew the pictures and I helped her with the text. Some of her books ideas were very funny.
Use a books tracking website
The school of my daughter is working with a website named antolin. On the website, you can find quizzes for an extensive list of children books. When the child read a book, he or she can do the quizz and get points (up to ten points for easy books and up to 40 points for difficult books or books in a foreign language). My daughter has currently something like 400 points.
Use a reading tracking picture
My daughter’s teacher gives the children a picture to color, for instance a caterpillar formed with 30 little circles. Each time the child reads for 10 minutes, one part of the picture can be colored by the child and signed by an adult. When the child completed the picture, he or she can bring it back to the teacher and receive a little present. This is a good idea because children who read regularly are more comfortable with reading and therefore have more fun reading.
Choose a book together
Whether in the bookshop or in the library, letting your child choose a book is a great way to make sure he or she will love reading it.
Be a good example
If your child sees you reading, he or she will see reading as a fun hobby rather than a chore.