Reading is such a complex activity, no matter what age. As kids, we are learning how to read both accurately, fluently AND remembering all the characters, details and story events in order. I mean whew, that's a lot! They are 6 & 7 year olds! Yes, those things are very important but in that process I don't want them or us to lose sight of what we read. For the enjoyment of being entertained, scared, sad or learning new information. Sometimes at this age, it seems as though we are reading just to learn how to read. So how do we make it fun? How do we get them to like reading?
Now, I was one of those kids who always had a book to read. If a book wasn't in reach, the newspaper, back the cereal box, pretty much anything with words. Yes, I know, nerd alert. And I realize that not all kids are going to be like me. So, how do we get them to like reading?
I've started talking about reading outside of school with them. When I read: driving, shopping, online, signs, cereal boxes and of course my books before I go to bed. That's my routine. What's theirs? They shared out when they read, when they "have to" :) and when they want to. They were surprised at all the places they "read" that didn't seem like they were reading.
Offering them LOTS of opportunities to read all different kinds of books. Picture books, wordless books, nonfiction books, books online, chapter books, magazines, comic books, graphic novels, math/science sheets and listening to reading. I think it's so important for children to be read to and with. Listening to reading is just as enjoyable and a great learning experience as reading on their own. I try every week to curl up with a few of them and lap read. That time is just as important as the reading groups and instruction at the back table.
I talk a lot about practice. We read book after book about how important it is to practice to get better at things. If we practice, the better we get! And the longer and more detailed/interesting our books get! So practice, practice, practice (as Leo the Lightning bug would say) When they start to realize that (and it takes awhile) you'll see them grab all sorts of books to help them "practice".
Continue that encouragement and praise when you see your children reading, ANYTHING. They'll know they can do it. Because you and me are right there to help be their teacher and cheerleader along the way.