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3 Easy Steps to Get Your Kids Addicted to Reading

Cute Girl Reading a Book at Home

Break Free
I am in front of a screen pretty much all day. I have my computer at work, my computer at home, and my phone for every place in between. I’m connected (read: addicted). And, probably, so are you. That’s why doing anything off screen is special. And doing something off screen, with your child, and with something that’s good for them is really special. A hat trick of parenting. Reading is all of those things. We read to our kids when they’re little, and we love it. So why do we stop when they get older?

I didn’t stop reading aloud to my kids—I still haven’t—and it’s the best part of my day. I don’t mean just at bedtime. I mean randomly: reading for 10 minutes here, for a few minutes in the car, or while I drink a glass of wine and wait for dinner to finish cooking. I keep books everywhere and I think of reading like conversation. Just have it. Just pick up a book, and have it.

Follow Their Lead
If your 8-year-old boy likes soccer, buy a book on the history of the World Cup. If your tween daughter likes social drama, buy an Angus Thongs. Buy a Newbery, buy a favorite from when you were a kid. Highbrow stuff, lowbrow stuff, doesn’t matter. Put books in and around your life, and start reading. And no need to ask that your kids stop what they’re doing to listen. Just read. At first they’ll think you’re nuts and ignore you, but keep going. Read a few pages, then read a few more. Just keep reading. They’ll start to slow down what they’re doing, disengage from their activity, and slowly gather around you like you’re the Pied Piper.

Sit Back and Enjoy
As kids grow, even after they are reading on their own, reading aloud allows them to access more advanced stories and engage in higher intellectual thinking. It is also really lovely—not just for them, but for you too. We all love stories: our own stories, each other’s stories, made up stories. And sharing stories out loud does just that—allows you to share.

The most surprising part is how easy it is to make happen. Start with 5 minutes a day, once or even twice. You won’t believe how much your kids start to love it. You won’t believe how much you start to love it. You won’t believe how dependent (read: addicted) you all become on it.

Tracey Hecht is the author of a new middle grade book series: The Nocturnals: The Mysterious Abductions. When she isn’t writing, she can be found hiking, reading or spending time with her family. Tracey currently splits her time between New York City and Oquossoc, Maine with her husband, four children and three pets–none of which are a sugar glider.

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