By Christee Brauckmann, Director, Supplier Services, Homeschool Buyers Co-op

Are you looking for ways to boost your child’s reading? My children are avid readers, but they weren’t born that way. I had to go out of my way to make reading as enticing as possible. The first bridge to cross is the atmosphere…

Clear the Clutter – I have been in many homes, businesses, and even restaurants that have so much clutter strewn about that it causes the visitor to be overwhelmed with feelings of confusion, disorder, and chaos. Some of these places have even bordered along the same lines as the popular cable show, “Hoarders”. Certainly if grown adults are feeling uneasy in this kind of tumultuous atmosphere, children will surely feel the same unruliness and find it difficult to zone in on an excellent piece of literature. Take time each day to de-clutter your surroundings and you’ll be able to foster a warm, inviting environment in your home that will make even the most rambunctious child want to slow down and pick up a great read.

Turn Off the White Noise — Have you ever heard the term “white noise”? I don’t know about you, but the color “white” gives me pictures of puffy clouds on a clear day, a bride’s crisp gown, whip cream on the shortcake. These visuals do not equate to the feeling of any “noise” going on in the background. Perhaps your home runs the T.V. night and day to allow a backdrop of “white noise”. Let me encourage you to click the T.V. remote to the off position and reset your internal noise-o-meter to find peace in the little feet pattering through the house, the sound of the dishwasher cleaning up for you, the birds chirping outside the window, and the small sighs of satisfaction from the little people as they discover the joy of reading.

Getting rid of the pandemonium and lowering the decibels in the house are just a start in preparing your perfect place for encouraging Silent Reading in your homeschool classroom. Sometimes we need to set the home school curriculum to the side, as we make the development of certain habits (like reading) a priority in our home.

Once you’ve conquered the disarray in your home, and turned down that annoying T.V., you can continue carving out that perfect reading atmosphere.

Try Classical Music — Make Silent Reading cross-curricular by sliding in a Classical music CD of greats like Bach, Chopin, Verdi, or Beethoven. Perhaps your classroom budget doesn’t allow extra expenditures to build a wide variety. No problem. You can borrow some from your local library — at the same time you are checking out those Silent Reading titles. If library trips are rare, you can also search for composer pieces on YouTube and have them ready to listen to when the children have settled into their favorite reading spot.

Make A Comfortable Reading Nook — Providing a special place to allow your child to get completely lost in a good story is an absolute must. Who doesn’t find joy curled up in front of a warm, cozy fireplace in an oversized chair with some hot cocoa and a bestseller? Or, maybe your ideal picture involves soaking up the son in a lounger on the back deck with a pitcher of ice cold lemonade beside you? My own children like to throw oversized pillows in a large pile in the corner to create their cozy niche. It usually involves a fuzzy blanket and a squishy teddy bear, too. Whatever location is designated, just make sure it is catered to your child’s desires, so that it becomes his favorite place to be.

Security Items and Snacks Readily Available — Does your child have a favorite “blankie”, stuffed animal, or other security item? Even the older child appreciates his childhood teddy bear easily accessible to cushion the back of his head in the recliner during mandatory American Literature assignments. Maybe your daughter has a favorite bed throw that you made her years ago? Any one of these items will create a feel-good environment that will encourage your child to snuggle up with a good book. If you pop some popcorn or make some cheese and crackers readily available, your children will begin to look forward to Silent Reading time because they will also relate it to their favorite snack time, too!

Fostering an environment that causes a child to beg to read a book is not difficult. Just take a breather from the usual homeschool curriculum routine and implement some changes.

About the Homeschool Buyers Co-op

Homeschool Buyers Co-op is the nation’s largest purchasing cooperative for homeschool curriculum. The Co-op combines the purchasing power of tens of thousands of homeschooling families around the country to give homeschoolers the same purchasing power as school districts. Homeschool groups are offered the ability to purchase home school curriculum at discounted prices through their free membership program.