I can happily say that both of my kids love to read. It took time and some effort, but the steps I took to get the kids to this point definitely paid off. I am not a professional educator or librarian, only a parent who has seen results through my own personal experience and would love to share my journey on how I got my children to love reading books.
By reading together starting at an early age, reading in front of children yourself, making books easily accessible and making reading time fun, you are guaranteed to raise a child who loves to read!
Typically children are curious but don’t always naturally have a love for knowledge. Besides that, many would much rather be on electronics these days than read a book!
But the importance of reading cannot be underestimated. Reading can benefit a child’s learning skills, social and emotional development, their wellbeing and better their mental health. As parents, we have the potential to ignite the love for reading and learning which will benefit them in so many ways in their lives as they grow into adulthood.
Many studies have been done to show the benefits there are that reading has on a child’s development. As a parent we are in the best position to ensure reading is a key part of our child’s daily routine.
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Try this fun digital bookmark so your child can track their reading time!
Tips on How To Raise Kids Who Love to Read
1. Treat Books Like they are Special and Magical
I know this sounds corny, but to young kids it makes a difference! Introduce books as magical tools that can carry you to faraway lands and take you on the most amazing adventures. Also show kids how books can bring out emotions and feelings that can make you laugh out loud or feel excited. If you can curl up with your kids with a good book and read to them regularly, hopefully the kids will believe books are magical as well!
There is something so enchanting how books can spark images in our minds and give us connections with characters that never even existed. Reading to a young child will increase their creativity and imagination, even if it is a picture book that you are showing them.
Ways to Make Reading Special
- Read books out loud to your child
- When reading, change up your voice between characters
- Bring out finger puppets to bring the character to life
- Put on a show for the kids where you re-enact the book with your partner or put on a one person show. It might sound silly but eventually everyone will have a good laugh and it’s always fun to be a little goofy and relaxed.
- If it’s an older child after reading a book see if there is an audible book for them to listen to or a movie. Have the child give you their opinions and comparisons on what they liked or disliked.
2. Start Being a Reading Role Model
Become a model reader to your children. Monkey see, monkey do! Children take cues from their caregivers. If your kids only see you watching TV, they will most likely want to spend their time watching TV as well. So, same thing, if your children see you reading, they will most likely want to pick up a book as well. And yes! Audiobooks count as reading too, which I am a huge fan of because of my busy schedule these days.
Ways to be a Reading Role Model
1. A part of being a good reading role model means that you show enthusiasm while reading. If your child sees you having a good time reading, they too will have more of a curiosity towards books and will be more likely to try to find a good book to read for themselves or ask you to read to them.
2. Dedicating time to reading together with your kids and having discussions about the book influences them in many different ways. For young children, it helps with their cognitive language, and social-emotional skills as they grow.
Being that reading role model for your child makes them more aware of the importance of reading and learning. They will eventually see that literacy is not just something that is work for school, but as an enjoyable hobby and passion.
3. Start Reading Early
Start the love of books as early as you possibly can. I personally started reading to my babies when they were about 4 months old. At first it did seem a little strange and silly to me. But I continued reading to them and still do now at ages 7 and 9. Reading together when they are young will help establish a routine to continue on as they grow.
Starting to read to your baby early on is important because the roots of language are developing in a baby’s brain even before they can talk. I realized that my baby was responding to the flash cards I was showing her. If I had multiple flash cards with different colors and asked her “where is the red card?” she would get it correct. I did this a few more times with different colors just to make sure this was not just pure luck. I was amazed at how much she was able to absorb at an early age!
Ways to Start Reading to Your Baby
- Simply pick up a book and read
- Show flash cards of colors, shapes and animals
- Show pictures and point to them and say what the pictures are. You can use their fingers and point to the pictures saying what everything is as well. Eventually your baby will try to mimic your sounds and start forming words.
Seeing results of this first hand made me more motivated to keep going with my day to day reading routine with her. I felt like the more words she hears over time, the more words she will learn and increase her vocabulary.
4. Keep Books Accessible
Surround yourself with books and keep books everywhere you possibly can: on coffee tables, on the bathroom vanity, in the car and most definitely in your kid’s bedrooms. Its best to keep books in rotation and in sync with seasons and holidays. Your children will be curious and will start picking up the books to read for fun.
Ways to Make Books More Accessible
1. Books can be expensive, and building your own library of books may not be in your budget, I found that purchasing books from places like Kijiji and Facebook marketplace comes in handy especially if your child is interested in a book series or a specific topic.
2. Of course the library is the best place to go. Make frequent visits to the library and have your kids pick out books that speak to them.
Libraries carry a wide range of books and magazines that your kids can have free access to. If you are unsure what books to get for your children you can always ask for assistance from the Librarian to make some recommendations.
Eventually kids will realize that reading and learning is a part of life and not just a chore for school. Library time can be fun as well. Most libraries have storytime and activities for kids at all different age levels. So take advantage of the free resources that they provide and make it a fun outing by visiting your local library.
5. Make Reading Time Fun
Try not to stress out if your child is not sitting still and doesn’t show interest in the book you are reading. Just don’t stop reading. Continue and enjoy the book by laughing out loud and making comments about the story.
Eventually they might show interest and sit with you. Even if they are not sitting beside you, as long as they can hear you reading it’s still making a positive impact on them.
Ways to Make Reading Fun
1. Have fun by reading funny books. Reading doesn’t have to be a quiet, serious activity. Have some laughs and don’t worry too much about reading comprehension and what your child learned from the stories. All of the reading comprehension will eventually fall into place and as the child gets older and you can have more discussions about the stories and books they are reading then.
2. Allow your child to say up a little past their bed time if they want to read in their room. If this is something that interests them, which I am sure it will, purchase them a headlamp so they can read in bed. They will think you are one awesome parent for allowing to stay up past bed time!
3. Make a cozy reading corner with soft blankets, cuddly toys, and maybe even a reading fort.
4. After reading a book allow your child to watch the movie version if available.
I have personally done all these things with my children over the past 9 years. I am proud to say that my kids are big readers and I honestly think it’s because my husband and I invested a lot of our time reading to them as babies and still continue to do so.
Reading to them at an early age not only gave them a love for books, but we also found it has increased their vocabulary and improved their understanding while they listen.
I hope you can take something from my personal experience so you too can gift your child the love of reading.