The city is simultaneously less crowded and more active this week as families head out for vacation or make use of their staycation during the mid-winter recess. This week, children have an ample amount of time for a whole variety of activities — but the best thing to keep up with? Reading! We know it’s tempting to use time off to play or implement screen time or just put the books down for a bit, but more free time means more time for reading to be viewed as something fun and relaxing. The enjoyment of books can sometimes be lost for children in a school setting, and using that time at home to remind them of the magic and wonder of using our imaginations is crucial to instill a lifelong love of reading.
We came up with a few ideas to bolster your little one’s excitement and add another layer of fun this break.
- Read from new genres! Kids can always be expanding their horizons when it comes to reading, but often they stick with genres they know and love, like action or mystery. Even more often, a child will read one book from a new genre and dislike it, and then swear off that particular area of literature forever. Making a trip to the library or bookstore and encouraging kids to choose something out of their comfort zone can open the door to entirely new worlds and ideas — and that’s never a bad thing!
- Make a game out of it with a reading bingo sheet! There are many examples of these that can be found online, but there’s plenty of room for you to design your own as well. Incorporating squares with goals like “read outside” or “check out a story on audiobook” can keep things fresh and exciting, and give kids something to work towards and strive to accomplish.
- Follow a theme! At Book Nook Enrichment, we read and create each week based on individual themes — everything from the holidays to reptiles. Asking your child to choose a theme and then pick a handful of books that correlate with that theme gives the project a sense of purpose while also making it cohesive. This can open your child up to a new genre, but also a new subset of information entirely. Have them pick books on certain type of animal, or maybe another city, and see what knowledge they are able to acquire.
- Make a schedule and stick to it! Sometimes routine is the most important part of creating good habits. Pick a time each day to set aside as reading time. Set up a cozy corner of your house, or head to a nearby bookstore or library, and settle in for an hour or so. If you’re busy during that time one day? No problem — find another time that works. So long as your child is reading each day and making the time, just not waiting for it to present itself, it’s a win in our book.
- Make use of travel or staycation time! Reading can be done anywhere, but sometimes it’s more fun somewhere new and exciting. Heading to the beach? Take a book with you! Traveling via train, plane, or automobile? Do some backseat reading! If your little one is staying in the city this week, there are still plenty of new spots to discover. Head to Central Park, find a new library, read with the dinosaurs at the Natural History Museum — anything! There’s always new places to explore in New York, and what better way to make it memorable than with a good book?
(Photo by Johnny McClung)