Maybe eating chocolate while reading a good book... yeah, I enjoy that more.
I love losing myself in a different world... three different worlds at the same time. This could explain my extreme scatterbrained-ness. I'm very rarely on our planet earth.
I want my kids to feel the same way about reading, but that's not always easy. Reading sometimes feels like a chore for them, something they have to do for school.
Most parents give this lecture to their kids: "I walked five miles to and from school uphill both ways in the snow."
I give this lecture: "I would give anything to have someone force me to sit down for twenty minutes a day on a comfy couch to read."
Seriously. I read for ten minutes at lunch, five minutes while I'm waiting for the kids to get out of school, and TMI moment of the day: one minute in the bathroom a bunch of times a day... but that's usually accompanied by someone pounding on the door shouting "Mommmmmm!!! Can I have an otter pop???".
Anyway... there are a handful of little things I do to keep my kiddos excited about books. It works for us, I hope it works for you too!
1. We Love The Library
We go to the library a lot. We get comfy there. The librarians know us by name.
When we moved to Utah County I discovered that their library system was..... I'll be nice: Less than stellar. Consequently, I pay an $80 a year non-resident fee to use the Salt Lake County Library System ($5 more per individual card for ride-on kids). It's only a 20 minute drive to the Draper Library, and well worth the $$$. Online renewals, never waiting more than a few days for popular books, free DVDs, friendly employees, amazing facilities... I could go on all day.
2. Reading before school
I'm a meanie. I make my kids get up waaaaaay before school starts. Showered & ready for breakfast by 7:15. After breakfast they read and practice piano. Any extra time leftover, they can play the ipad, computer, legos... whatever. I have found over the years that if the required reading doesn't get done before school, it doesn't get done at all. We are just too busy after school... so many other things pulling us this way & that. Side note: Waking your kids up early, makes them tired enough to zonk out at 8:30. Mommy free time anyone??!
A few years ago my friend Natalie mentioned that she paid her kids a penny a page for books. I thought that was about the most brilliant thing I had ever heard. I started it right away. My rules for getting a penny a page are this: It has to be a chapter book at or above their reading level, and it has to be a book they haven't read yet. My kids LOVE the penny a page reading incentive. Trev got over $15 for reading the Lord of the Rings trilogy. More important than that? He discovered a love for reading at the same time. I almost got choked up just now... I don't know if it's because I'm so glad he likes reading, or if I'm just so thrilled it was Lord of the Rings that did it. You can track their pennies a page however you want... I used to have my kids write their pages on a Post It note, but that got too messy. I made a spreadsheet, but it was boring. Today I designed a cute little freebie printable, 'cause I love ya :) Download it HERE. (Click "Actions", drop down to "View all sizes", click "Download large 1024 size". Print! Easy peasy :)
4. Movie Night
Let's face it, the book is ALWAYS better... But, the movies can be fun too. So if there's a movie version of the book my kids are reading, they get a special movie night with me when they finish the book (even if it's a school night)! Spencer & I just watched Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Askaban last week... it was awesome, and it was special one on one time that we rarely get :)
5. Be a good example
If you want your kiddos to love reading, let them see you read! Suggest your childhood favorites to them, get excited about book releases & their movies. Show your children by example that reading isn't a chore, it's a privilege :)