Raising children is no easy task, and finding a way to get grandparents reading to your kids can help ease the pressure on you, without holding back their literacy growth.
Parents are some of the busiest people on the planet. Scratch that: the busiest! I know what it is like to be a parent. To have a career, hobbies and a home to take care of on top of keeping a family afloat. You want the best for your children, and you don’t need to be told how important it is that they learn to read and write well. Declining attention spans and falling literacy rates are two issues no parent should ignore.
But help is at hand! Why not ask your parents, or parents-in-law, to help out at reading time?
Grandparents have a wealth of experience and time, and many love nothing more than make a significant impact on the lives of their grandchildren. What better way than sharing their love of books?
So to help argue your case, here is a list of four things you can do to get grandparents reading to your kids.
1. Instill them with Confidence.
Obviously, you need to start with asking for help. Have a quiet word with your children’s grandparents about whether they would like to read with your child. They may not feel qualified or as confident as you might think. That’s okay. It’s been a long time since they raised you and things have changed. Especially if you read on digital devices.
Talk to them about how much it would mean to you, and to their grandchild just to spend time with them. Sharing a book is a wonderful way to bond and create memories with their grandchild.
Share how important it is that all children learn to read well and how they can make such a big difference. They don’t have to have been well-educated themselves to teach. They have experience and a perspective that can broaden their little worlds. In fact, they may be surprised how much they do have to contribute.
2. Show them which books your child loves to read
There are thousands of different types of books available for children. So many that it may seem daunting to any grandparent - Old Mate Media’s own library has a vast range of experience. Also, they may not know which books are too easy or too hard.
Plan a trip to your local bookstore or sit down and share which books are suitable for your child. Remember to make a note of authors and publishing houses, and offer to buy some books to get started.
You could also plan a fun day at your local library. The children will be able to show their grandparents which books they love the most, and sit down right there and start reading together.
3. Give them a quick lesson on the latest teaching tricks
Teaching a child to read is a learned skill that is constantly evolving. Don’t expect your grandparents know what to do simply because they were parents once, too. There have been many changes to education over the years, and they may not be up on modern trends.
Here is an example of what I suggest. Never say “no” when a child gets a word wrong. Instead, say things like, “oh, that didn’t sound right.” Or, “let’s look at this word again.”
Show them how they can use the picture to help the child figure out what a problematic word might be. You can also show them how to assist with sounding out words and breaking them apart. With grandparents reading to kids, involving them in modern teaching methods can a big motivator.
4. Remind them how much you loved being read to as a child
Did your parents or even your grandparents spend time reading to you? And did you enjoy it so much it helped you do better at school? Perhaps it give you more confidence in life and helped to create a strong bond within your family? If so, share these wonderful memories with them. Remind them of books you once read together. It will give them the drive to want to read to your children, and carry on that tradition.
Books have a wonderful power over us. They take us to places we might never visit, and we meet the most charming and interesting characters. The bond that can develop when we help children to read can be very strong. It can grow into something really special that will last a lifetime. After all, you’re having an adventure together.
Why not ask now? Get your child’s grandparents reading to them and sharing their love of books today.
About the author - Susan Day
Susan Day is a children’s author and writer. Her blog, Astro’s Adventures Book Club, is full of ideas and tips for grandparents, parents and teachers to support them in helping children become better readers. In addition, Susan has created a guide to help grandparents build a more meaningful relationship with their grandchildren through their love and passion for books. Susan lives in country Australia with four dogs, three boss cats, three rescue guinea pigs and an errant kangaroo. Apart from blogging, writing and reading; she loves painting and learning to box.
Where to Next?
Have you considered buying books in digital form? Perhaps you will be surprised by our article, 16 Ways Children’s eBooks are Better than Printed Books.