8 Tips to Encourage a Love of Reading
Some kids seem to be born with a book in their hands, and others are not so enthralled with the idea of reading. One of my proudest parenting moments is when I see my kids’ heads nuzzled in their books. The other day my 9 year-old son said, “Mom, nearly everything we do in life involves reading, doesn’t it?” It was at that moment that I think he finally realized how important reading is – whether you have a bookworm or a reluctant reader. Here are some tips on how you can help foster a love of reading in your child.
Read Early and Often
It’s never too early to start reading to your child! Babies love hearing the sound of their mom or dad’s voice, and a bedtime book can be a fun and relaxing part of your nightly routine. A simple board book like Goodnight Moon is an excellent choice.
Get To A Storytime
Bookstores and libraries often have free storytime once or twice a week. If you don’t have an offering locally, why not create a storytime with some fellow playgroup moms? You can include it as part of your normal weekly playgroup meetups, or create a separate day dedicated just to storytime. You can take turns hosting storytime at home, or get together at a park.
Utilize Audio Books
Audio books can be a fantastic way for kids to get interested in reading. Turn off he DVD player in your car and put in an audio book. My kids began listening to audio books around age 4. They loved them so much that we stopped watching DVDs in the car altogether. Most libraries have a nice selection of children’s audio books to borrow.
Find Age Appropriate Books
Reading books that are too difficult can frustrate kids, and books that are too easy can become boring. It’s critical to gently guide your child in the direction of books that are appropriate for their age and reading level. Your local children’s librarian or your Facebook friends will be happy to suggest titles that were loved and cherished by their own kids!
Let Them Pick Their Own Books
Once you have an idea of what books are the right level for your child, turn the reins over. Give them the opportunity to choose the books they want to read. Even within a family, interests can range widely. My son devoured every title in the Magic Tree House series; my daughter refused to read a single one. A librarian told me once to not be afraid of graphic novels, comic books or anything else that didn’t “feel” like a real book. Sometimes it’s those types of books that can really kick-start a reluctant reader’s interest. Allowing your child the freedom to choose their own books gives them a sense of empowerment that will motivate them to continue to read.
Let Them Read The Way They Want To
Some kids love the feel of an old-school book. Other kids will prefer reading books on an e-reader or tablet device. Still others will choose audio books. Forcing your child into reading a certain way will only frustrate them and turn them off. Offer up multiple options and follow your child’s lead with how they want to read.
Visit The Library Regularly
As kids move into elementary school, it can be easy to forget to visit the library. But it’s more important than ever to keep kids in front of those books once they’re learning to read independently! Plan to visit your local library regularly. Show them where the books are that are at their reading level and let them browse and choose. Take part in the free events and activities that the library offers children. Your kids will come to think of the library as a wondrous place instead of a tedious chore.
Lead By Example
Finally, make sure you take time to read for yourself. If your child sees you enjoying reading, they’ll want to hop on board the train. Even if it’s sneaking in a chapter of a book while you wait for your kid’s soccer practice to finish or you read a bit before bed, serving as a model can help you make your child a lifelong reader.
Photo via Gigi Ross | Kludgymom.com