Reading Engagement at Every Age
Posted on November 27, 2020 by CHS
Children have been making the most of the warm weather with creative indoor and outdoor activities that adhere to the new health guidelines during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. During this time, it is especially important to remember that keeping your children engaged physically and mentally is a priority. One of the best ways to keeps kids engaged is by establishing a reading culture with your children. Reading is an important and indispensable way to foster your child’s development from as early as infancy, and will be beneficial to you and your child’s overall health, communication, and relationship.
Reading offers a multitude of positive developmental influences to your physical, mental, and emotional health. One particular research study has shown that reading actively engages multiple regions of the brain, strengthening the connections and signals between those different regions. The enhanced brain activity initiated by reading has proven to affect the part of the brain that responds to movement and pain. Reading is also an excellent way to reduce stress, help your child relax, and enhance his ability to focus. Even if your child is old enough to read on his own, reading together is still very important. Finding a comfortable time and place to rest with your child and read from a book can provide reassurance, as well as create an opportunity for your child to express himself.
Creating a reading culture with your children isn’t only about reading together. Perhaps your child is at an age where they prefer to read on their own. Whatever the case may be, there are easy ways to create an environment where reading is a natural part of life. One essential way is to make physical books easily accessible in your household. You can visit your local library to check out books for free, or purchase books from inexpensive sources such as yard sales or Friends of the Library book sales. Situate books in common areas, such as the living room, family vehicle, and in bedrooms. Make sure that your children regularly see you reading and encourage conversations about what you are all reading. Your child may be interested in reading from a variety of print materials such as: comic books, graphic novels, children’s books, newspapers, magazines, etc. It is important to encourage your child to read topics that they are passionate about – just make sure to review and approve their reading choices.
Aside from the many benefits reading provides, it is especially important during this prolonged absence from in-school education that children remain engaged with reading to prevent learning loss. According to Oxford Learning, “Learning loss is when students return to school at a lower academic level than the end of the last school year.” Learning loss can negatively affect the way your child adjusts to entering the next school year, requiring that they relearn what they have forgotten and placing them behind their peers. Creating an active reading environment for your child will help him exercise the essential skills learned in school and keep his education on track.
Below is a list of reading resources to help establish a reading culture in your household. These resources include reading lists tailored by age group, activity logs to track to your child’s reading and other activities, and video workshops you can do with your child.
Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) – Summer Reading Lists
The ALSC has created printable reading lists for children from birth to grade eight. Each reading list has over twenty titles with a brief description of each book and ISBN information.
Anaheim Public Library Virtual Programs
The Anaheim Public Library has created a suite of video workshops to practice exploration, cooking, crafts, math, art, health, and more! You can view these workshops on their Youtube channel as well as other videos including story time, book talks, and cultural interviews.
Los Angeles Public Library Summer Reading Challenge
The Los Angeles Public Library has hosted a summer reading challenge to promote reading every day. You can download and print a game board to log your reading and other related activities.
Reading Rockets Summer Reading Resources
ReadingRockets.org has a range of reading resources for parents, children, teachers, and librarians! Their resource page features a variety of booklists, articles on summer reading and learning loss, and parent tips on how to integrate reading into your daily life. They also offer an interactive Get Ready to Read Screening tool.
The Book It! resources page offers activities, printables, and reading trackers for both parents to use at home and teachers to use in the classroom. Resources are offered in English and Spanish.
Read Across America – Books From All 50 States Reading List
This extensive list of fiction and non-fiction books spans across all 50 of the United States of America and ranges from preschool through high school.
- Read Across America for Parents for resources to encourage reading in the household.
- Tips to Help Your Child Enjoy Reading Aloud from Healthychildren.org.
- An article on the benefits of reading books on your health from Healthline.com.
- Reading Benefits for Kids and Teens from Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
- Pbskids.org Reading Games page featuring 30+ interactive reading games.
- PBSLearningMedia.org has free curated learning content for the classroom or any learning environment.
- Curated reading lists from The Children’s Book Council.
- Get Ready to Read has resources and printable checklists families and educators can print and use to promote literacy with children.
- Reading is Fundamental: Literacy Central provides tips, checklists, activities, and more for parents and educators.