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The Top FIVE Things YOU can do to encourage reading.

I work with students ranging in age from 5 to 45. Although I never use a cookie cutter one size fits all approach, there are practices that I have found beneficial to all. Start these practices early and keep them going so they become a lifelong habit in your children.

1. Read to your child every day. Turn off the phones, TV, computers and create ten or fifteen minutes of quality reading time. Younger kids enjoy picture books, teens enjoy adventure and fantasy books. For older teens, invest in a subscription to Newsweek or Popular Science and read an article a day together.

2. Let your children see you reading every day. Parents who read have children who value reading.

3. Fill your house with interesting reading material. Subscribe to National Geographic or the Smithsonian. Get excited when the new magazine comes each month. Younger children enjoy Highlights Magazine. Older students will enjoy the magazine the History Channel puts out (sign up at the history channel website). Read an article together. Look at the pictures. Create quality reading time. Ten or fifteen minutes a day is plenty. If a map comes with the National Geographic, hang it on the wall. Let your child see you studying it. Get your child a subscription to a magazine that expands on his/her interests: For example, if your child is interested in mountain biking, invest in a subscription to a mountain biking magazine.

4. Stock your cupboards with the following games: Scrabble, Upwords, and Boggle. Take your child to a coffee shop - turn off the phones. Play one of these games every week. Buy a copy of the Scrabble Players' Dictionary and let your child use it to create words.

5. Go to and download Bookworm Adventures Deluxe. Create an account for each of you. See who can get through the game first. Or if you have a younger child, play this game together. This game is an invaluable tool for building spelling skills.

If your children see that you value and enjoy reading, they too will value and enjoy reading. Monkey see, monkey do. Have fun!

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