I've shared a little bit about my own struggles with my oldest, now nine years old. Story time was special for us, but like her mother (ahem, that would be me), she was initially very frustrated when it was time to learn to read on her own. If it didn't happen perfectly, the first time, she didn't want anything to do with it! There was an interest in the stories, but she didn't want to put the work in to read them herself. Fast forward two years, and she's now reading several grade levels ahead. They actually stopped testing her reading level because she's doing so well this year.
I don't say that to brag, but to encourage any moms or dads out there who may be worried about their child's progress. If my highly stubborn, cranky-about-reading-daughter can be transformed into a total bookworm, there is hope for you!
Amazon knows all about reluctant readers, and they're making it easier on parents with their Kindle e-reader...just $79...and their new Kindle FreeTime Unlimited program, subscriptions starting at $2.99 a month!
My girls were beyond thrilled when a Kindle showed up at our door a couple of weeks ago. Here's what we love....
- Easily look up definitions to words, building their vocabulary
- Love the Vocabulary Builder – which stores words that kids look up and allows them to quiz themselves with flash cards – and Word Wise, which provides short and simple definitions above difficult words as they’re reading along
- Small and compact. No big unwieldy screen to tangle with.
- Carry their favorite books with them in one spot--with Spring Break approaching, this makes road trips easier to pack for! No lugging a bag of books with us
- You can download books from your local library
- Amazon also has a wonderful free books section for Kindle. I found Tom Sawyer, The Secret Garden, and Treasure Island...downloaded them for free!
- No distractions- there are no extra apps, movies, or games on the Kindle. Just reading!
- Unlimited access to hundreds of hand-picked chapter books and early-readers
- Curated for age appropriateness
- Easy to log in and browse titles (early readers, can search by character or theme with photos)
- Just click on the book title/cover and it's downloaded into your child's FreeTime Unlimited profile!
- Subscriptions start at just $2.99 a month.
Note: FreeTime Unlimited also includes access to apps and videos, but I was unable to review this portion of the service because it is only compatible with Fire tablets and Fire TV.
My conclusion? If you don't need or care for the apps and videos, the regular Kindle is an excellent way to encourage your kids to grow their reading skills. And incredibly affordable! With the FreeTime Unlimited, my girls have the freedom to choose which (age appropriate) books they want to browse and read. OR, I can go in and choose books for them.
Now...for my tips on encouraging reading!
I may go into more detail in another post (and some of this I've touched on before), but here are a few tips and strategies that have worked for us:
- Start early
- Be a teacher
- Find a tutor
- The Twenty Minute Rule
- Audio Books
- Make it Fun
- Talk to the Teacher
Most importantly, set a good example for your kids! If they see you reading, if you spend time together reading or listening to classic stories, they'll see a glimpse into the amazing, creative world that is waiting for them.
Getting over the initial hump of resistance can be difficult, but once your son or daughter discovers a love of knowledge, imagination, and experiences, it will be hard to quell. There are nights that I have to be stern with Natalie about shutting her book and going to bed!
Do you have any tips for encouraging reading in your home?
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I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.