How to Get Your Child to Read (the Newspaper)
Do you want to increase your child's reading skills?
A few years ago, when I was trying to get my kids to increase their reading, I pulled out the comics in the newspaper, thinking that it would be a fun way to get them to read more and introduce the newspaper to them. My husband and I are HUGE newspaper readers and in this world of all electronics, all day, we like the paper. We may be old fashioned, but you can tear it apart (take the Best-seller list with you to the library), you can write on it (crossword, sudoku), you can cut out an article for a school project, etc.... We love it.
If I had know what would happen next, I would have captured the moment on video. They ate it up. They thought the comics were the best thing since sliced bread. They were reading them and laughing at the silliness of everything within minutes - even the little ones were giggling. I looked at my husband and smiled. They had found the newspaper.
This created a tradition of everyone passing them around at breakfast every morning. Of course there were fights along the way, because there is only one comics section, and we have more than one child, but honestly, having them fight over reading material is AWESOME!!
WHAT HAPPENED NEXT.....
Then, my son discovered the weather page and the sports pages. One morning he asked what the weather was going to be that day. I was unsure, so I asked him to look in the paper, again, trying to get him to read a little more. In our town, the weather page is on the back of the comics section, so he found it easily and proceeded to read me the weather, not just for our city, but for the ENTIRE NATION! Then he asked me every question imaginable about the weather words that were on the page. It took forever, but seriously, I was thrilled. Our love of the newspaper was catching on.
He then asked about a sports team and if they won a game. This is so NOT my area. Sports and I do not reside in the same universe, so, again, I asked him to look it up in the paper. I wish I could have recorded the glow that popped into his eyes. He opened up the pages and started, again, to recount EVERYTHING IN THE SECTION to me. It took forever, again, but I was in heaven. He, at least, had discovered what a wonderful source of fun the newspaper could be.
Since then, he gets up, comes downstairs, and is the first to grab the newspaper. Heaven forbid if it is late being delivered. He does not know what to do with himself until it comes. He gets out the weather, or the sports, and proceeds to read the WHOLE SECTION, recounting events as he sees fit. I know more about sports and weather than I have ever card to know, but, I have a son who LOVES the paper. He has expanded to the front section, to the Arts and Entertainment, and sometimes, to business. Lately, it is the countdown to the Olympics. He has learned so much from those ink stained pages. His elbows are ALWAYS black when he goes to school (and no matter how hard I scrub, they are permanently stained), but I love it. I see it as a badge of honor. In today's society, where kids are on electronics 24/7, here is an eight year old little boy who reads the paper.
The other kids have expanded past the comics as well. They have used the paper for projects at school (one of them had a current events article due EVERY WEEK FOR A YEAR) - boy was I glad we had the paper. Other kids in her class had to download articles from the web. She was so happy we had the paper easily available.
The other thing that has happened with us reading the paper together, is that we have grown a little closer as a family. While it is not as cool as all of us reading the Bible regularly, it has helped. We show each other what we have read, we share a laugh over the comics (especially when they relate to our life - which they often do - scary!!), or we mourn a sports team losing. It has caused us to talk about world events more and think about the world outside our little bubble, which is a GREAT START to being an informed adult.
Just to clarify, I have NOTHING against electronics. They save us regularly when we need information fast and cannot get to a library, or someone brings home an assignment that needs some research. And, obviously, I am writing on the internet right now. This is just a suggestion on getting your kids to read more and a strategy that worked for our family.
So, in summary, if you want a sneaky way to get your kids to read more, take out the comics. Start small like we did. They are hilarious. Even it if is only the Sunday pages (which are in color - so cool), it is a start. If it fails, it didn't cost much, and you can always use the comics as coloring pages on a rainy day instead. Maybe, just maybe, it will plant a little seed for reading later.