People are exposed to many different forms of writing during their lifetime. So why should reading with your kids be limited to storybooks? From magazines and newspapers to traffic signs and closed captions, reading is literally everywhere!
Benefits to reading different forms of writing to your kids
All forms of writing are valuable and offer numerous benefits for kids. Some of these benefits include:
Improved memory, vocabulary, and concentration
Stimulates creativity and imagination
Boost in confidence, reduces stress, and strengthens problem solving
Exploring a variety of written works offers children the opportunity to see what all reading has to offer.
Books in different genres
When children go into a library and see all the books, just like with anything else, they probably want to explore. So why not let them! Instead of taking them directly to the section geared for kids why not let them do the guiding and choose from the the vast selection that libraries offer? Here are some examples:
These books throw you into the world of imagination! Talking animals to exploring the seven seas and more! There are so many wonderful options for kids of all ages to explore using their imagination.
Have your kids ever asked who a specific person was? As a teacher, my former preschool kids would ask me about people all the time! It’s likely that there is a biography or autobiography out there about them! Go to your local library and use the card catalog; great way to teach your kids how to search for books they are looking for. Find a book about the person to read together! For elementary kids David A. Adler has several books about people like Martin Luther King Jr, George Washington, Lewis and Clarke; even lesser known people like Harriet Beecher Stowe!
Poetry is severely underappreciated in the world of literature. There are even poets who’s focus is writing for kids! Shel Silverstein anyone?! Poetry is also a great way to get hesitant readers, or kids who just do not like to read, nose deep in a book! Because of their short length, they are less overwhelming and more inviting to those less than excited readers!
There are so many books that focus on the arts. From sculpture, painting, and photography to food, fashion, and music. There are so many options! Let your child explore the arts throughout history! Grab a cookbook and read through a recipe, or take the book home and cook it together! Look at art and architecture through the years and learn about cultures from around the world.
How many times does your child come to you with questions about any and everything? Children are inquisitive by nature. Foster that natural instinct by taking a trip to the library to find books on the topic in question. How do volcano’s work? Why do sharks attack people? Why do germs make you sick?
Any question that can be asked, more than likely you can find an informational book about it! Not only do your children increase their reading skills, they learn that they can find answers to their questions!
Newspaper and magazine articles
Reading newspapers and magazine articles (think more like TIME and National Geographic) offer children real time, real life, relevant experiences on local, national, and even global scales! It gives them a way to connect with the world and their own communities. While reading these kinds of publications, children become better listeners and/or readers. Yes parents need to ensure that what their child is reading is age appropriate, but there is almost always something that is likely to peak your child’s interest!
Other Things that Offer Reading
From ingredients and nutritional values to the games and activities on the back of the box, there is always something to read on your child’s favorite breakfast cereal!
Letters and postcards
Have family and friends write letters to your kids! Not only will they experience the excitement of getting a letter in the mail; it offers them a chance to work on their writing too! Letter correspondence is a great way for children to strengthen their reading and writing skills while building relationships with their pen pals!
Menus at Restaurants
When you are out at a restaurant let your kids read their own menus and decide what they want. You can even bring it home and make some menus for dinner options for them to help pick out what’s for dinner!
Billboards and Street Signs
Reading can be done in the car too! Have your child “help you” find where you are going by telling them the name of the street or store you are looking for and asking for their help to make sure you don’t miss it!
Next time you are on a road trip, why not get out a map and highlight the course you are going to take? With that your child can follow along on a map and monitor your trip progress by using road signs!
Reading brings the world to your fingertips and is found everywhere, so there is no reason to limit reading to just story books! Getting creative with reading makes it more fun and helps makes memories to last a lifetime!