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Everyone knows reading is important. Even if you’re not a voracious reader, you have to read recipes, emails and notes from your child’s teachers. It’s a part of everyday life.

And just like how some adults are avid readers and others loathe books, children are the same. But studies show that kids who enjoy reading do better across the board in school and in their future careers. It’s imperative for children to start off reading as much as possible.

Kathryn Jordan is a teacher and reading coach for Anderson School District Four. It’s her job to help children build a passion for reading. She said the statistics for adults who do not enjoy reading is frightening, and it’s her mission to turn the children in her district into kids who love books.

“It is important for children to become hooked on reading because it develops critical thinking skills and empathy for others and will pay dividends for the rest of their lives,” she said. “I strongly believe it is a huge piece of whole-child and brain development, and if more people realized just how powerful reading is and the impact it has on the development and life of a child, it would be placed at the forefront of every day and never be neglected.”

Scholastic Books offers several tips for families to help get children interested in reading and keep them that way.

Mealtime isn’t just for meatloaf. Your kids can help you by reading recipes aloud. You can also play book-related games at dinner, like guessing what Harry Potter’s favorite meal might be or making a meal as fancy as possible like Fancy Nancy and using her fancy words.

Activities related to books that aren’t actually reading can also help, according to the experts at Scholastic. Your child can make his own bookmarks with strips of paper or you can look up how to make origami bookmarks online. Parents can also help their children create a book nook — a special corner with pillows, blankets and a small bookshelf with a rotation of old and new favorites.

Jordan thinks these are wonderful ideas because they make books fun for the whole family. Anything that can make reading exciting is beneficial to encouraging kids to pick up more books. She said parents and teachers should want kids to experience joy and satisfaction that reading can bring so they enjoy it for years to come.

“Your child may not be interested in books, but they are more than likely interested in people, things or topics,” she said. “Find what they love to do and/or are interested in and find a variety of related print and non-print resources.”

A child’s inborn curiosity will lead them to want to discover more about the things that interest him. Books are a wonderful way for your adventurer to learn more about rock climbing or your princess to learn more about the lives of some real-life princesses. Jordan said finding their niche is a great way to spark a love for reading.

She added that reading and literacy are not just picking up books. As mentioned, reading a recipe is a great way to get a child to help at home and read at the same time. The same can be done with looking at song lyrics, reading game instructions, or researching an interest online.

There are many ways to encourage your child to read, even if he or she is not a proclaimed bookworm. If a parent is ever unsure, asking your child’s teacher or a local librarian are great starting points for building those reading chops in children.

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