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It was about six years ago when I noticed that our son, who was a good reader, didn’t enjoy it. He knew his sight words, he did well with comprehension, his fluency was great, yet he didn’t WANT to read.
I, on the other hand, love to read. I always have, so I was disappointed that he didn’t feel the same way. I knew that I had to find a way to change things.
So I did…
Here we are, years later, and he is now heading into his teenage years… and he LOVES to read. We catch him reading after we put him to bed, reading in the car, reading when he wakes up, etc…
So, what changed? What did we do?
How did we turn him into a child that loves to read?
It all happened in the car. (yes, really).
Actually, it started on a road trip.
We love to travel. We go to Hilton Head many times a year (about four hours away).
We go to Pennsylvania to visit family (6 hours away).
We go to Disney every year in Florida (9 hours away).
We travel to Savannah, Georgia (4 1/2 hours).
We just love to make our way to different places and spend time together. Honestly, I think the kids like the journey of driving there almost as much as they like the destination itself…
I use our trips to spark a love for reading.
You already know that I taught our kids their letters and sounds in the car… and this wasn’t much different. When you spend time in the car, you use it well. 🚘
With that being said, the best thing that we found to help our kids develop a love of reading was Audio books. Audio books are the my solution to a lot of things, like how to start running when you don’t like to run. They just make the time go by SO MUCH FASTER!
How I find audio books for our family:
- I research books and find age-appropriate novels.
- I check the time of the audio recording, because I want a book that will last the length of the trip.
- I download them (or even borrow them from the library) before we go on a trip.
- I start the book as soon as we leave, so they can get involved in it before finding anything else to do.
- Tip: Don’t allow other electronics during this time-(give the kids a chance to get involved in the book first).
- We only stop the book when we get out of the car.
The kids get into the book, but so do we! It makes our long drives fly by! Plus, I love that everyone is using their imagination.
You will even find that your kids don’t want to stop to eat or take a break, because they want to hear more of the story.
Our son soon loved reading…
It was the audio books that started him on his journey to reading. Once he realized how he could get lost in a book, it didn’t stop. He started picking out new books at the library and reading them in a weekend. We got an Audible membership for our him & we would help him choose books that would last a while.
Now, I’ll catch him listening to his books while he is doing his chores, swinging on the porch swing, or going to bed at night when he is lying in the dark (after the lights are out and he can’t “actually” read his other physical books anymore.) We usually have to give him a 30-minute time frame or he would listen all night.
The bright side is that he now reads books for hours every day. He often reads a book in a day or two, just for fun.
… and to think it all started with an audio book in the car.
I HIGHLY suggest that everyone get audio books to encourage your children to start on their path to loving books, stories, and all that goes with them. You can even get them for free with the 1-month free trial at Audible.
Here are some of our family-favorite audio books.
1 The Land of Stories (this is the one that got him started)
2. Chronicles of Narnia
3. Wonder (our 3rd grader read this in school, too)
4. The Lightening Thief
5. Peter Rabbit collection
6. Charlotte’s Web
7. Land of Stories (a favorite!)
8. The Magic Treehouse
9. The Wonderful World of Oz (Anne Hathaway)
10. The Secret Garden
11. Harry Potter
If you are trying to encourage your child to love reading, be sure to find a book that is interesting to him. It will unlock the door to years of reading enjoyment.