This Friday, Nov. 1, is National Family Literacy Day, and kicks of National Literacy Month. It was first designated in 1994 in order to raise awareness of the importance of family literacy. By encouraging and educating parents and caregivers, National Family Literacy Day aims to instill a lifelong habit of reading in children.
Studies have found that the earlier parents become involved in their children’s literacy, the longer lasting its effects will be. Parental literacy participation is also a known predictor of a child’s achievements in his or her adolescence and adult life.
If you’re looking for ideas to celebrate National Family Literacy Day, look no further. We’ve come up with a handy list your family will love.
1. Plan themed family reading nights.
Reading can be an incredibly engaging experience, so why not try making it more interactive? Build a “spaceship” fort in the living room while reading books about astronauts, or pitch a tent in the backyard when you read stories about nature. The entire family will get a kick out of immersing themselves in the story, and it will make your kids excited to read.
2. Have your older children read to their younger siblings.
This is a great opportunity for your more advanced readers to explain larger words or break down summaries to their siblings. They can take turns reading sentences or chapters so everyone has a chance to improve their reading skills. This not only helps your children’s minds grow, but it also is a great way for them to bond as siblings.
3. Read books “popcorn” style.
Choose a book for the family to read together, then start reading a few pages at a time. The reader then picks another family member at random to read the next pages. It keeps everyone engaged so they’re prepared to be called on to read. Pop a bowl of popcorn to enjoy a fun-themed snack.
4. Call in long-distance family.
If your kids have grandparents or other relatives out of town, consider calling them or video-chatting them to read to your kids. Your kids will get a kick out of hearing from their loved ones, and your relatives will likely be thrilled to be involved in your kids’ reading development. Simply call them beforehand, and agree on a book you can both pick up from your local library so your kiddos can read along.
5. Read a book, then watch the movie.
Most people tend to say that books are better than their movie adaptations, so test out this theory with your family. Read a book together, and later watch its movie version. Afterward, you can discuss the similarities and differences, and take a family vote on which version was better.
Reading as a family is one of the best ways to grow closer together. Both you and your kids will look forward to evenings spent engrossed in a story. It sets them on track to be lifelong readers, which is a skill that will help them in more ways than one.