Monday, October 07, 2019

Top tips to raise readers! (Plus, a literacy workshop we must attend!)

Look at Vito's first modeling gig!!! I'm so proud to say his first modeling job was about books. His most recent modeling job was about shopping for school supplies, so it's still connected to learning. Yes, piling-pili ang mga projects na lalabas ang mukha ng mga anak ko because I really wanted that even the work they do reflects what we hold dear. And books are definitely a big deal to me and my husband, Vince.

Ironically, my kids—the kids of writers, editors and book lovers!—didn't take to books right away. That broke our hearts. We did everything right: we had a library, the kids were surrounded by books since they were in my tummy, and we read to them at bedtime. Vince and I couldn't understand why our boys weren't bookworms like us!

After researching and talking with other more experienced parents (a.k.a. parents of adults), I found a few reasons why kids don't read:

1. There are too many distractions.
Toys, TV, gadgets, video games—yes, we vilify those as the top distractions taking our kids away from books. But in my house, these are also the culprits: their brothers to play with, friends who visit, arts and crafts projects, school, homework, piano, dancing, singing, rough and tumble play, cooking with Mama, movie-and-popcorn time with Papa, basically a ton of good things that are monumentally more fun to three wriggly little boys than sitting quietly with a book.

2. They think it's a chore.
If we force our kids to read books they're not interested in, then they're going to resent anything book-related.

3. They think it's boring.
For active little kids, what can be more dull than being asked to sit still, be quiet, and read?

Of course, your child may also have a learning disability and parents constantly breathing down their neck to "READ A BOOK!" may make them dislike books even more. I mention that because it's a legitimate reason but I can't recommend any expert course of action since I'm not a literacy expert. That's why I'm going to a literacy workshop by ReadPro Philippines on Oct. 19, Saturday, at Fully Booked. Come attend with me, mamas!

Can't wait to attend this ReadPro workshop! I really want my boys to grow up loving reading and learning. Why do some people love reading? A recent article in The Atlantic"Why Some People Become Lifelong Readers,"  explored it and gave this list of what predetermines the creation of bookworms:

1. The more educated you are, the more you'll love reading.
2. People who live in the city are more likely to love books than those raised in rural places.
3. The more money you have means you can afford to buy books, and have the time to read.
4. Gender factors in, too. Girls read earlier, more, and way longer into adulthood than boys do.
5. Introverts are more likely to love books.

That list gives me hope because we are blessed enough to give our kids a good education, we can buy books often, and we live in the heart of the city (I think this factor just means people in the city have more access to books, various educational experiences, and the internet). My kids are neither girls nor introverts so how do I tackle those issues?

Well, the article featured Daniel Willingham, author of the book, Raising Kids Who Read, and here are his interesting insights:

1. You read first. 
It's not enough to surround a child with books. It's not even enough to read to them every night. What really matters is your children need to see YOU reading! Kids follow their parents' example so if they see us excited to read a book, they're going to want to read books, too!

2. Kids need to know about life before they will open a book. 
Kids think books are boring. So they need to be interested in the topic first before they'll read anything about it. If your kid loves robots, buy books about robots. If you just came from a vacation in Hong Kong, let him read about Chinese culture. If you just visited a dinosaur museum, grab books on prehistoric animals!

3. Parents need to treat books as a part of everyday life. 
You and your husband can talk about your favorite books or the book you're currently reading with the kids around to listen. Visit bookstores often and browse. Don't lock away books in the study, high up in the shelf. Don't treat books as precious at all! Let the kids look at the pictures, write on the margins! If you get mad at them for desecrating and vandalizing books, they won't want to touch books anymore.

My kids are now finally reading. Maybe not as much as we want but we're taking it one book at a time. They love visiting book stores because we buy them at least one book each as a treat. They have a reading schedule—I know it seems like a chore but I needed to set aside a time that's just for books, and that's usually mornings for Vito and bedtime for IƱigo and Piero. I also decreed that their time on gadgets must be 1:1 ratio with their books. So 30 long agonizing minutes reading a book means just 30 short minutes on the iPad.

At first, the kids did treat reading as a chore. But slowly, they became interested in their books. Thirty minutes became one hour, there was less whining and more quiet times spent with their nose in a book. And more often than not, instead of asking for the iPad or the TV remote after they read, they now draw or write stories. Hooray!

It's a start! I need to know more ways to get my boys to dive into reading! That's why I can't wait for October 19 and attend the "Parents, How to Encourage Your Kids to Love Reading" forum at Fully Booked High Street! Come with me, mamas!

Visit the ReadPro website and like their Facebook page for more information on the workshop and the literacy programs. I'm thinking of enrolling my kids!

See you on Oct. 19, mamas!

*This post is brought to you by ReadPro Philippines.

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