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How (and Why) You Should Get Your Children to Love Reading

How (and Why) You Should Get Your Children to Love Reading

In the U.S., there is a truly distressing number of adults who are unable to read past an elementary level. In fact, 44 million adults in this country are unable to read a story to their children. Roughly fifty percent of adults are unable to read a book written for the eighth grade level. Almost fifty percent of adults do not read a single book in an entire year. The ability to read and write is the foundation for all other types of education, as well as the ability to perform well in most places of employment.  As a result, there is a proven correlation between illiteracy and income.

Many U.S. adults cannot read at the level required to earn a living wage. As a result of this, many earn an income that is considered to be below the poverty level. Furthermore, illiteracy and crime are quite often intertwined. In fact, the Department of Justice has stated that there is a link between crime and the failure to read. The vast majority of inmates in America’s prisons are unable to read past the fourth grade level.

Encouraging Your Child to Read

There is no denying the fact that encouraging reading within your household will bring about myriad benefits. Getting your child to read is one of the most important things you can do as a parent. Some children love reading from the very beginning, but others need a bit of a nudge toward the shelves.

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Children need literature just like adults do. They need something that stimulates their imagination and deepens their curiosity, love of learning, and the desire to play. Offer them a wide array of books for them to choose from, to give them the most positive experience possible. They need to be scared, amazed, excited, and to have their curiosity piqued. They need something that will make them think, but don’t get so focused on providing educational books that you turn your back on the fun books. Let your child choose which books they want to read. Many children’s books are amusing, stimulating, and contain positive messages. It’s great to provide books that build their reading skills, but to only offer these will kill any love of reading they may already have. Reading is fun, and shouldn’t be challenging all the time.

Remember, the library is a fun place to visit. Take your family on regular trips to the library, and make it a fun and exciting outing. Get your children excited about the fact that there is a book on pretty much any subject they can think of. If they want a book about clouds, there are plenty of books available on the subject. Same goes for dinosaurs, princesses, bugs, horses, cars, zombies, and anything else that is currently holding their attention. Getting your child excited about reading will increase their reading skills. The more engaged they are in the book, the more value they will place on reading and learning.

Ask them about the books they are reading, and encourage a dynamic discussion. They will love spending time with you, and they will be thrilled to share all of the wonderful things they are reading with you. Ask them to read their favorite book to you, and show enthusiasm for what they are reading. This is their absolute favorite book, so you should get just as excited about it as they are.

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Improving Your Own Reading

If your own reading skills are lacking, there are some ways you can start improving them today.

Evaluate your reading habits. Do you tend to mouth the words as you read them, or say them aloud as you go along? Doing these things can slow your reading rate and make it difficult to improve your reading speed and skills.

When you practice your reading, make sure you set aside an ideal spot for doing so. Choose a place and time that will afford you the least amount of interruptions, the most comfortable seating, and ample lighting. Hold the book about fifteen inches out from you, or roughly the distance from your elbow to your wrist. This is the best position for reading, as it’s easiest on your eyes and on your posture.

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Read whole phrases at a time, rather than honing in on every single word. This will increase your reading speed, cut down on you flicking your eyes back to re-read something you already went over, and will boost your reading comprehension.

Build your personal lexicon by reading with a dictionary by your side. If you come across a word you don’t know, jot it down. If you can, figure out the definition based on context clues within your reading. If you’re stuck, refer to your dictionary. Not only is this a means of actively reading, but it will also build your vocabulary.

When you start out, practice reading for fifteen to thirty minutes at a time. Review your comprehension by summarizing what you have just read.

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Benefits of Encouraging Your Family to Read

Learning to read starts long before a child actually enters school. It starts with parents reading to their children, buying their children books, and instilling a love of reading. Those who are not read to, and not encouraged to read, will be less prepared for learning than other children. This will pay off in both the short-term, and in the long-term. The employees that are most likely to be employed in the U.S. have at least a two-year college degree.

Encouraging your family to read will allow them to make more informed decisions about their health, political campaigns, which pets they welcome into their home, which hobbies they take up, and how they will become active in their communities. Additionally, the more households that read, the more likely crime rates are to drop. There is already a proven correlation between adult illiteracy and crime. In fact, the least literate cities have a lower livability score and higher rates of crime. For example, Bakersfield is the least literate city in the United States. The overall crime rate in this city is 66% higher than the national average, with an individual having a one-in-twenty chance of becoming a victim of any crime.

Literacy starts at home, and it starts with you.

Featured photo credit: Viktor Hanacek via picjumbo.imgix.net

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Alexia Bullard

Alexia is a content marketer and writer who shares tips on productivity and success at Lifehack.

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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