Some ways are simple.
-be an example of a reader- make sure your kids see you reading
-have ample of reading material around (picture books, novels, magazines, etc..)
-go to the library regularly
But today I wanted to share a slightly more complex attempt to help kids connect to books. (okay- a bit more complex- but so worth it!)
"A Play-in-a-Week" Theater
( we really don't have a name for it- we are working on it.)
This past week- our children were out of school for Fall Break. So the PTCO planned to produce a play.
(I serve as the Fine Arts Chair for this Parent Teacher Community organization.)
I selected the book: Voyage of the Dawn Treader as our story line.
(It's the next Narnia story that is coming out in theaters- in December.)
Almost all the children were familiar with the characters before we began.
Some of the children had already read the book.
Some children were inspired to read the book.
And some children were motivated to listened to the story on CD.
Two boys who have been in our book club for the last 3 years- (and who always struggle to read and finish the books) had MAIN PARTS in our play!
It was exciting to see kids connect- but especially these boys!
It was an amazing week- and astonishingly enough.
We only spent *2 hours each day on this production!
So before you think - this is the impossible project only highly productive people/ or PTCO's can accomplish... it wasn't.
Because the kids were involved in set designs and props and costumes....
the expectation of the final performance is pretty low...
Having said that- the two times we've done this Play-in-a -Week
the end performance has always blown everyone away!
Kids are creative & talented- with adult supervision to guide and channel that creative energy- the end product is amazing!
We are lucky to have a PTCO and Principal at our school who supports this type of project- and opens doors. (Literally- we needed keys and permission to use the facility while everyone was on break.) Also- we have parents who are willing to share their time and talents.
If you don't have that kind of support from you school, turn to your church youth program, or a civic center in your community. These types of organizations are always looking for great activities to bring the community together.
If this seems too much trouble-- you could modify this idea to a smaller scale project in your neighborhood.
Why not put on a backyard play?
Let kids gather props, create costumes and paint cardboard backdrops?
The more kids connect to books
the more likely they will want to read books.
And the more they want to read....
the more they will read...
and the more they read-the better reader they will become...
* 2 hours a day is what we asked the parent volunteers to commit to during their Fall Break.
The PTCO leaders spent more time on this project:
Writing the script,
holding auditions/casting (everyone who came- had a part in the play)
gathering the music
set up and clean up each day
Parent Volunteers- showed up, worked in their area (costumes, sets, props, leading a set of children around, taught dances, practiced songs, etc...) and then went home. Some parents couldn't come every day... but as long as you have a handful everyday it works.