In one of my earlier posts, I wrote about the importance of encouraging kids — and even adults — to write. Writing actually comes hand in hand with reading, and literacy is something that is close to my heart as an intentional parent and a homeschooling mom.
Sadly though, with today’s high-tech gadgets and society’s seemingly endless need for fast-paced, immediate entertainment, good old-fashioned reading and literacy-related activities may seem “boring” to some people. This should not be the case — especially if you are a parent.
Thankfully, there are many ways we can encourage literacy at home. Here are just three of them:
1. Be mindful of how we spend our time with our kids.
The writer of this helpful article on EducAsian Learning’s website, Barbara Kitane-Boero, hit the nail right on the head when she wrote:
As parents, while being light, we need to be intentional.
Experts would recommend that all it takes is to have the time and mindfulness to view each time spent with children to be a teaching moment.
No matter what time of day it is, when you (we!) are with your kids, be all there. And take that opportunity to encourage literacy as well. As Kitane-Boero writes: Let us promote “literacy with the purpose of lifelong learning, a perspective that is local and global, and a sensitivity that extends beyond the self and family.”
We can do this by taking the time to read books to and with our children, no matter what age they may be. Reading aloud to our kids — even if it is just for 20 minutes a day — has many benefits.
2. Use books as discussion starters.
I personally love it when we are able to use books — good books — as a way to engage with our kids. Kitane-Boero of EducAsian Learning agrees too.
“Good children books are really good conversation starters especially when we are aware of the specific issues we would like to have a dialogue with,” she writes in her article. “It does not put children on defense; it makes them reflect on their own situations, which then facilitates joint or independent problem solving.”
Some of the books we have used as discussion starters are the children’s Bibles we have at home, plus books with specific themes like death, pregnancy, sickness, etc.
3. Keep a home library.
Whether you live in a small, rented, old apartment like we do, or a big, airy house, having a library will do wonders in encouraging literacy in your home. You need not have thousands of books in your home library, of course — the key is to select quality books that have passed the test of time and are recommended by generations of readers before us, though there are newer titles that are worth collecting as well.
Browse through different booklists or head on over to curated bookshops like The Learning Basket to get started on — or add to — your home library. Of course, make sure your kids know that they can access the home library at all times. Encourage them to have a regular reading time every day (we call it “DEAR” time in our home — DEAR stands for Drop Everything And Read.)
And there you have it, a few simple but effective ways to encourage literacy at home. I want to thank EducAsian Learning for graciously sharing their tips with us as well — you can head on over to their blog for more tips, and if your kids want to experience firsthand what an “integrated balanced literacy program” is like, feel free to check out the third module of EducAsian Learning’s Kids Writeshop.
Oh, and if you have more tips for encouraging literacy at home, please feel free to share them in the comments! Here at Truly Rich and Blessed, we believe that our resources are part of our “riches” — and by “resources,” we also mean education. We are all about lifelong learning!