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27 Ways To Get Your Child Hooked On Books

By Paul Borgese

Teach your child to be a READER, not a follower! Your children cannot afford to wait until they attend school before learning to read! Start them reading NOW by using the following 27 Ways To Get Your Child Hooked On Books!

1. Develop reading readiness by reading to your baby. It is never too early to start reading. Some mothers even read and sing to their babies during pregnancy. A few minutes of reading each day will speed your child toward reading comprehension a few years down the road.

2. Introduce your baby to the world through books. For example, if you are reading a simple book that mentions a banana, show your baby a real banana. Such exercises will facilitate your child's understanding of the world.

3. Give your child a book box. When I was very young, my parents set aside a special box for my brothers and me where we could store our books. Books became just as much fun as toys, and eventually, we all came to prefer books over toys.

4. Allow your child to take part in choosing books. The books will become more special to your child since he or she helped pick them out.

5. Show interest in reading. Young children want to imitate their parents and other grown-ups. Your child will want to read if he or she sees that you spend time doing so.

6. Set aside part of your child's allowance to be spent only on books. Not only will this help your child learn the value of money, but it will also make him or her understand that books are valuable possessions. This will stimulate a greater interest in reading.

7. Ask relatives and friends who normally give gifts to your children to give them books or subscriptions to magazines. When I was a child, I enjoyed receiving books more than toys because books seemed like gifts adults gave one another.

8. Reserve a shelf in your bookcase for your child. Children have a greater respect for their books if they are kept with those read by adults.

9. Help your children to make their own books. If your children don't already write stories at school and make them into books by stapling or tying the pages between construction paper, help them do it at home. Children will be especially proud of their "books" if you keep them on the shelf with other books.

10. Help your child make colorful bookmarks out of construction paper. Or help your child to start a bookmark collection.

11. Introduce your child to the public library during his or her preschool years. I still remember applying for my first library card. My mother explained that I could take out almost any book I wanted but that I was responsible for returning it within two weeks. I gained a much greater respect for books, and thereby became much more interested in them. Your child will do the same. HINT: Don't take out more books than your child can read. Focus their attention so that they can finish a few books rather than overloading them with too many which may be frustrating to read enjoyably and thoroughly within the time allotted by the library.

12. Check with your local libraries and bookstores for dates when children's book authors will be reading or signing their books. Children are usually very interested in meeting the people who write books. Such a meeting will often spark further interest in reading.

13. Help your child write to a favorite author. Most authors love such fan letters. Usually, you can write to an author care of his or her publishing company. If you would like to write to me, address the letter to: Paul Borgese, c/o Strawberry Traffic Jam Productions, 9 Cumberland Drive, Voorhees, NJ 08043 or email me at paul@PaulBorgese.com. I love to receive all kinds of mail!

14. Buy a good set of encyclopedias for your child. Make it a habit of reading a short subject every night to expand his or her understanding of the world.

15. Also, make sure to have a dictionary in your child's reference library. When they come upon words they don't understand, encourage them to look the words up in the dictionary. Often, children get into the bad habit of simply skipping over words they don't understand. Sometimes, I even have to fight the urge to skip over words that I should be looking up in the dictionary. This is a bad habit, which can only hurt your child.

16. Make sure your child reads some activity books such as cookbooks or gardening books. With such books, they won't be simply reading passively but rather actively using the books they read. Books will then be seen as tools for learning to do things, which are fun and not just for schoolwork.

17. Create a reading area for your child. As a writer, I make it a point to write every day at the same time, for about the same amount of time, and also, most importantly, in the same comfortable place. You should try to create a similar atmosphere to promote habitual reading. Pick a cozy corner of your child's playroom or your living room. Add pillows or a comfortable chair and encourage your child to use it as a reading area.

18. Read and discuss stories with your children. Too many times, I've seen parents on trains wasting opportunities to interact with their children by letting them occupy their time with hand-held video games or other toys. Whether it's on a train or bus or before bedtime, these moments when we can interact with our children are precious. Use them wisely.

19. Get your child involved in the stories they read. When reading a story with your children, ask them what they would do if they found themselves in the situations that the book's characters find themselves in. Such exercises will help your child develop good decision-making skills under your guidance.

20. Play reading games. When driving in a car or riding in a train as a family, try playing a game we used to call "What's Next? Stories." One person starts the story by making up a situation. Each player takes his or her turn by adding a sentence and thus influencing the outcome of the story. Such a game can be as short or as long as you want it to be.

21. Of course, you should limit how much T.V. your child watches. I won't go into the ill effects of violence on T.V. - you already know about that! What concerns me is that T.V. "does the thinking" for children at a time when they should be exercising their imaginations through reading. When your child watches T.V., all the images and sounds, which flood his or her mind, will suppress the imagination. Reading forces children to use their mind's eye to create images in their imagination. T.V. allows them to rest their brain - their imagination muscle - too much. Don't let your child's imagination muscle become flabby! Encourage reading rather that T.V.!

22. Encourage your children to exercise their imaginations by having them draw characters or places they read about in their favorite books. Sometimes, when I visit classrooms, I ask students to draw a Whipperwoo, which is an imaginary creature from my book, Hunting for the Whipperwoo. The child in the story is searching for a Whipperwoo even though he has never seen one. It's a great way to get kids thinking creatively.

23. Collect old books your children have outgrown and donate them to book drives held by children's hospitals, churches or other organizations which help the needy. This will heighten your child's awareness of the value of books and the needs of others.

24. Encourage your child to write often. Writing and reading go hand-in-hand. Having a relative or a friend as a pen pal will surely improve your child's ability to read and write well.

25. Help your child keep track of the books he or she has read by keeping a journal with the title, author, and date completed of each book read. Don't make this into a speed-reading contest to see how many books your child can "read" over the summer break for instance. One book read thoughtfully is better than ten read quickly without consideration.

26. Play a game I call "Give-The-Story-An-End." Just before the end of a story, ask your children to make up their own endings. After exploring their ideas for story endings, read the actual end of the story and discuss the differences.

27. For more information on books for children, visit www.PaulBorgese.com or call Strawberry Traffic Jam Productions at 1-800-236-6048 and make reading your child's life-long adventure.

About the Author: Paul Borgese has been writing children's books, performing to classes around the country and working with teachers to create fun and educational children's programs for over 10 years.

He is the author of three children's books: A Sunday Stroll, When Fish Go Peopling andHunting for the Whipperwoo, all of which have won him critical acclaim and various scholarships and awards. Every month, his web site features a new selection from Paul's award-winning poems.

As an outgrowth of his educational consulting, Paul also has written several special reports - including his very well-received 27 Ways To Get Your Child Hooked On Books - all of which are available absolutely free by visiting www.paulborgese.com

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