During the Elementary school days of 5th grade and under my girls had to keep track of how many minutes they read out of school for various reason. Several years they competed in City-wide reading programs. Their class and school won several times with the most minutes read. Other times they had to read x amount of minutes to earn class rewards. I always encouraged them to keep track of their own minutes. This promotes responsibility and independence. It is also great for math. You have to teach about how each second turns into a minute and how each minute turns into an hour. I love how math and reading are used together.
When we started homeschooling I carried over the "read for x amount of minutes" each day. They had a log sheet where they wrote down their time as well as what book and how many pages read. This is our 4th year homeschooling and we no longer use the "read for x amount of minutes" log sheet. All three of my girls are independent readers. They have been for many years. The log was used to make sure that they gave time to reading each day. They have established early reading habits and now that habit doesn't need timed.
The joy of homeschooling is that you can read a novel for 1 hour during the school day if you choose to do so. You can go to the Library for hours at a time instead of 15 minutes once a week. Reading is like learning to ride a bicycle. With books, you start when you are young by your parents reading to you, giving you board books to look at, and books on CD to listen to during play time. This is done over and over. Your parents, siblings, teachers still read to you but you pick up the books on your own and start the reading CD on your own. Before you know it, you are saying the words in the book by memory and by word recognition. You still make up stories by looking at the picture. A time comes where you begin reading all the words around you including the ones from out the window of the car. Over time you still love being read to and still need to be read to but you begin reading to others. This is the time your training wheels get sold in the garage sale or passed down to a younger sibling.
It all starts at the beginning. Take time to foster reading habits with your children. Find out what the school is doing and carry that over into your home. If you homeschool make that a big part of your day.
If you have a kiddo who doesn't like to read then help her find a book on a subject she enjoys. If she loves dogs then find her books on dogs to read. If she loves cartoons then find books on cartoons. Does she love telling jokes? Give her new material by finding joke books. Our policy was that reading had to be done daily. Set a timer for 5 minutes and read. Then increase the timer to 10 minutes. Over time the timer will be forgotten but the reading is being done. That again goes with the learning to ride a bike analogy. The biggest thing you can do as a parent is to make sure you are reading too! Kids follow your lead. It takes time but it will happen.
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