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Challenge: Back to School

How To Get Your Child Excited To Read

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With the kids back in school and the National Book Festival in Washington DC (Al Roker and Tom Brokaw will be there too!) coming up I started thinking about things that work when it comes to inspiring my kids to read.

My daughter is only 4 and already I feel like the book battle is being lost to the TV and tablet sometimes. Slowly I’m figuring out ways to inspire her to turn the page. Here are some tips to encourage your child to get lost in a good read.

The Choice: The first rule I found in my house: Let them choose! It's so easy to pick YOUR favorite books as a child and expect your little ones to love it just as much. That's not always the case. The key is finding what excites them, what they're passionate about and give them options related to that. My daughter is obsessed with "doing art'. So it's no surprise she gets psyched to read books like Mix it Up and The Day the Crayons Quit.

Look Beyond Books: Back to the interest thing. Shocker, my daughter is a fan of American Girl dolls. So often I'll let her 'read' the catalog and other fun magazines that come to the house. In my opinion, reading is reading. Til this day some of my finest reading memories were as a kid devouring comics. I was obsessed with Archie and Veronica. I’m so thankful my parents let me read them all the time!

Library Card: I’ve found my children love anything if we make it “an event”. Going to get their library card was a big deal. I hyped it up for days. Once there, they went through the process of registering for their very own card, signing it and testing out the scanner. When they discovered the children’s section it was like they found a whole new world. The experience made it an adventure and more importantly began a new weekly tradition of setting aside a time to celebrate books.

Make THEM Storytellers: Talk about using your imagination. I discovered And Then, StoryStarters which is a collection of 20 beginnings. Each of the story cards (which are beautiful by the way) has an interesting start that eventually will end with "and then". It's at that point your child picks up the story and finishes it. It challenges creativity and as a parent don't be surprised if you find yourself authoring a twist or turn too!

Go Old School: What got you excited to read as a child? I adored Reading Rainbow and was so happy to find DVDs (4 episodes) on sale for about $5! What a steal. It proved an oldie but a goodie as my daughter was enamored by it. You won’t be able to get “Butterfly in the Sky” out of your head but either will they. You’ll even find yourself roped in. I sat down when I heard Martin Short and Gilda Radner narrating.

Great kid reading resources: Oprah's Kids List, Reading Rainbow's Skybrary or app, FirstBook.org

Want to attend the National Book Festival? It's FREE! Drop by the Washington Convention Center Saturday, Sept. 5, 2015 between 10am- 10pm. There will be approximately 175 authors, illustrators and poets there to talk about their work. I would love to meet you! More on the festival and schedule here at the Library of Congress website.

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