About a month ago, I informed you that my family was heading to California to attend the Disney Social Media Mom Conference. Well, we’re back and still elated to be invited. Seriously, we’re all on cloud nine, the event was nothing short of amazing and I will probably spend the next few weeks sharing all that I learned.
The conference was filled with so many inspiration and lots of amazing speakers, one of them was, LeVar Burton. He was at the event with David Arquette, Tim Gunn and Ariel Winter to help unveil the Disney Junior’s Give A Book, Get A Book Program. The program is a partnership between Disney and First Book, an ingenious way to distribute up to 1 million books to kids that need it the most.
Wondering how you can get involve? It’s easy, when you purchase a specially-marked Disney Junior book or product, there will be a redemption code on your receipt. Visit Give A Book, Get A Book enter the code, then choose a section of the country that you would like to send the book to. It’s that easy, as a thank you for doing this, Disney will give you a free digital book. It’s pretty neat, I know.
To support the program, various Disney stores is hosting an interactive story time featuring new stories from Disney Junior “Sofia the First” and “Jake and the Never Land Pirates. In addition, there will be a special story-time events hosted at Boys & Girls Clubs of America, where kids will be given a free book and redemption code bookmark.
Reading, I believe is an essential part in building a foundation in our kids life. Growing up, it wasn’t my favorite past time, and frankly I am not sure when I cultivated my love for reading but as I’ve gotten older I’ve learned to appreciate it and dare I say enjoy it. So, no matter what stage in life your child is in, whether he or she is a fluent reader or a reluctant reader like I was, one of the most important things that you can do is to help him/her learn to see books, stories, and reading in new and interesting ways. If you want to help your child develop a lifelong admiration for reading, here are a few things that you can do.
5 Steps to Raising a Lifelong Reader:
1. Keep a wide variety of books in your home. According to Educational Testing Service, the more variety of reading materials there are in the home, the higher the students reading proficiency. Mix it up, just because you loved picture books as a kid doesn’t mean that your child will. Consider purchasing books on a variety of topics in several different genres. The more selection you have at home, the higher the chances are that you will find something that interests your child. Amazon offers free digital book download every week.
2. Attend book-related events. A friend that lives in Canada, attends a family book club. Frankly, I think this is a genius idea. I haven’t located one in my area but I’m seriously considering starting one myself. Does your library have an annual book sale? Give your child a few dollars and head to the event. You could also attend local book festivals. These typically are free to attend and feature local authors and speakers. If your library has story times, you could even go to one or two with your child. It’ll give your child the chance to hear a new story and to connect with other readers.
3. Make reading a fun family activity. The US Department of Education research found that the more kids read for fun on their own time, the higher their reading scores. Nowadays with Kindle and iPad it’s easy to get the kids involve with the purchase – let them be a part of the process. Shop online together for books, or take them to your local library to pick out some reading material. Make reading a part of your daily routine. It shouldn’t be limited to bedtime only. If the kids are home, an afternoon reading session would be a delight.
4. Create a personalized book. I can’t think of a better way to help your child cultivate a love for reading than for her to read something she wrote herself? It doesn’t have to be a complex story, something short and sweet will suffice. Just write down a few lines or a few paragraphs each day and you’ll soon find that your tale has grown into some great material. If you want to surprise your child, you could have the story bound in a printed book that you can read together on a regular basis. It will also make a great keepsakes that you can pass down for generations to come. If your kids are anything like mine, they will love these Personalized Disney Books.
5. Don’t give up. We have so much on our plates as a family that it’s easy to give up – Don’t! Carve out a time on the family schedule specifically for reading. Cut down TV time or game time to make room for reading. Initially, girls were not happy about me eliminating some of their play time but I believe they will Thank me later. With summer break coming up, it is an excellent time to create a summer reading list.
Well, there you have it, 5 Steps to Raising a Lifelong Reader.
Do you have any recommendations, what’s working for you, please share.
Disclosure: My family was invited to the 2014 Disney Social Media Moms Conference. We paid for the conference and travel expenses. I wasn’t obligated to write about it.
Kira is the founder of award-winning lifestyle blog focused on family, tech, fashion, beauty, food, fitness, and travel. Prior to launching The Afropolitan Mom, she was a marketing executive in the technology industry. She lives in the suburb of NJ with her husband and two kids. When she's not on carpool duty or scrolling through Insta, she spends time adding items to her shopping cart while binge-watching shows on Netflix!