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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 October 20, 2020

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future. Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

Bonus: Think Like a Rhino

More Tips for Procrastinators to Start Taking Action

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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