Cultivating a love of learning in children begins at home, and can be an enriching experience for the whole family.
From studying a favorite author to creating a family book club and encouraging interests, there are plenty of ways parents can encourage their little ones to love learning.
“When a family reads a book together, the people in the book become family friends,” writes author Lucy Calkins in Raising Lifelong Learners.
Start by picking a place for storing to put learning materials for easy access. Collect artifacts that build on alternating themes. Always start with books — they are a backbone of learning.
FAMILY BOOK CLUB
Together as an entire family, read the same book. Pick a chapter book to be read over time. It can be read aloud to smaller kids or independently for older ones.
Plan on how many pages or chapters will be read at a time. Set a time when the family will sit together to discuss the book. Give each person paper for jotting down thoughts, ideas, or questions about the book to stir up conversation during the book club.
Make this shared book experience part of family time.
Another great way to make learning fun is collecting and reading as many books as possible from one author.
ReadingRockets.org, which has a list of 75 Authors/Illustrators Everyone Should Know, is a great place to start to get ideas.
Always check out the Story + Art programs at the Long Island Children’s Museum in Garden City for fun ways to bring books to life for preschool children.
Pick a topic theme to create at home. In order to carry it out, do something together to create an experience around the theme. Instead of relying on technology, head to a library or go to a show.
For example, if a child loves wolves, choose fiction, nonfiction books, and informational texts about wolves. Print out, copy or draw pictures of wolves and put them on display. Learn about wolf conservation, mark where wolves live on a map, or read folktales about wolves.
Doing creative activities together cultivates those interests and an overall love of learning at home.
Erin Fealy Cunningham, Ph.D., is a literacy specialist and educational consultant adjunct professor at Hunter College.