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As a mother of 3 and a parent educator, encouraging the joy of reading has always been a primary focus in our family. My mother was innovative in how she encouraged reading in our family when I was young and it nurtured a love of reading that is still a big part of my life. I do my best to follow in my mother’s footsteps and find innovative ways to encourage after-school reading in my family. In addition to other tips we use this DIY bookmark as a fun and easy to make incentive to encourage reading.
Encourage After-School Reading
Make Reading a Regular Part of the Daily Routine
I look for ways to encourage recreational reading and make it be a routine part of our daily life. When each of my children began attending school, it became part of our daily routine for them to come home from school and read for fun. Reading is a way to unwind from the day, relax and have fun using their imagination (oh, and help encourage a love of reading).
Share a Nutritious Snack
When my child comes home from school, we spend a few minutes talking about their day, preparing a nutritious snack and then we sit down and read for fun (this does not include reading a text book). When my children were too young to read on their own, I read to them while we shared a snack. I continued to read aloud to my children once they began reading on their own because it’s allows your child to enjoy books that are above their reading level and it’s a wonderful way to share the joy of reading together with your child. Now that my children are in junior high school and high school, I sit with them and read my own book while they enjoy their recreational reading choice and an afternoon snack.
Since sharing a nutritious snack is a big part of our routine and school will be starting soon, I decided to start stocking up on after-school snacks. While I was out running errands, I dropped by Walmart and picked up a box of Eggo® Waffles in the breakfast aisle of the frozen foods section.
Build a Home Reading Library
I noticed that the Eggo® box had the Free Scholastic Book logo, so I made sure to pick up several other specially marked Kellogg’s® products, like Nutri-Grain® bars. With these specially marked boxes you’re able to earn one free book for each product you purchase. You simply create a Kellogg’s® Family Rewards account, upload the codes from your specially marked box and then make your own book choice from the list of available books on the website. When you purchase online at Walmart.com from 7/21 through 9/11 you can also earn a free book. Look for the Buy Now button and then upload your receipt via text, scanning onto your computer or via the Kellogg’s Family Rewards app. All codes must be entered by 3/31/2016 to earn your books.
It’s such an easy way to build your home reading library. This is a great opportunity to allow your child to choose books that interest him or her. There are 80 titles of books available, ranging from beginning readers to teen reading levels and there are Spanish language books available, also. It’s also the perfect time to make a few selections to broaden your child’s reading horizon by choosing books and subjects that are new to your child. It’s a good idea to choose some books a level or two above your child’s current reading level, so you have books for your child to grow into.
You can also choose to use your codes to donate books to your school. All books will be mailed to you or whoever you choose free of charge. Books will arrive in six to eight weeks (but they often arrive much sooner). You may redeem codes for either hard copy books or E-books, but e-books cannot be donated. Any books you choose to donate will be shipped directly to the school you choose with a note that says that it was generously donated by your family.
Make Reading Fun – Make a DIY Bookmark Book Hugger
Having a fun bookmark is another way to encourage reading. I like to make each of my children a felt bookmark with a favorite character. This year I thought I’d make a bookmark with one of their favorite Kellogg’s® cereal characters (you may recognize this fun-loving parrot). This book hugger bookmark is a treat because it holds your place in the book and can’t slip out like a traditional bookmark can. It’s just enough different to make it a fun reading incentive.
You can choose your child’s favorite character to create your own pattern or download my parrot pattern. You’ll need felt, scissors, a needle, sewing thread and black embroidery floss. It took less than 30 minutes to make this book hugger bookmark.
You may want to print out two or three copies of your pattern so that you can use it to cut the pattern pieces from different colors of felt. Be sure to cut the the entire outline of the head in blue so that you can stitch the other smaller pieces onto the large felt piece. Simply start with the black nose piece and sew each of the stripes onto the beak Next add the black pupil to the white eye piece and then sew the entire eye onto the head. Finally use 3 strands of embroidery floss to stitch a smile onto the beak using a stem stitch.
You’ll also need a piece of elastic about 15 1/2 inches long. You can find elastic in fun colors in your local craft or fabric store. Simply overlap the ends of the elastic and sew it securely closed. Stitch the felt character onto the elastic to cover the seam on the elastic.
This fun DIY bookmark book hugger will hold your book open while you’re reading (and eating your snack) and will hold your place when you’re done reading and close your book. What a fun way to encourage after-school reading with a DIY bookmark.
You can see the selection of books available with this Kellogg’s #Back2SchoolReady offer – which ones would you choose for your home library or to donate?
More Parenting Tips from a Mother of 3 and Parent Educator