I’m absolutely delighted that both of my kiddos love books. They constantly bring me books to read to them. If I happen to be busy cooking or cleaning, they’ll often sit and look through books on their own.
The reason this delights me so much is because reading is one of the most valuable skills a person can have; the benefits of reading are numerous and significant. Subsequently, I’ve been very intentional about exposing my kids to books, reading to them, and letting them see my own love for reading.
Here are some of the things I think we can do to increase our children’s love for reading.
Things that encourage our kids to love reading
- Have books everywhere. I have books in nearly every room of my house, so it’s no surprise that my kids pick them up and read them. Likewise, I carry books in the car and diaper bag for entertainment, so this is what my kids use to entertain themselves when we’re out and about. The more exposure kids have to books, the more likely they are to become avid readers.
- Read aloud every day. Reading aloud to our kids is perhaps the single most important thing we can do to instill in them a love for reading. Our kids love sitting with us and listening to our voices as we bring stories to life. From these stories they learn new concepts, go on adventures, and visit new worlds. They see how informative and fun reading can be! This is true for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers, as well as for older children and even teens.
- Let kids see mommy and daddy reading. As with many other behaviors, modeling is a great way to pass along to kids a love for reading. When our kids see that we take time to read, they understand that we value it and then they will want to read, too.
- Make sure kids have time to read. In the minds of many children, books aren’t as exciting as TV shows or movies. Therefore, it’s critical that we have times during the day where TVs and other electronic devices (computers, video game systems, tablets, etc.) are not in use. Books become very interesting when they are not competing with sound effects and action-packed images on screens.
- Visit the library frequently. Visiting the library provides children with an opportunity to see the plethora of books (and other resources) available for their use. They can browse the books and choose some to take home. The opportunity to choose for themselves helps heighten their interest, so this is an important activity for reluctant readers. While at the library, kids can participate in story time and, as they get older, you can take some time to teach them how to use various tools to look up books on topics that interest them.
- Listen to audiobooks. Audiobooks are an awesome way to “read” while completing other activities. They can interrupt the monotony by providing wonderful entertainment while driving on road trips, cleaning the house, etc. Audiobooks take some of the “work” out of reading, so they may be particularly helpful for reluctant readers.
- Introduce reading materials that aren’t books. Books aren’t the only thing that can be read by kids. Magazines, newspapers, comics, etc. are alternatives. It’s great to introduce kids to these so they have a variety of items to read. This can be especially useful for reluctant readers who may feel intimidated by a chapter book, but comfortable with a picture-rich comic book.
- Encourage relatives to give books as gifts. Most children I know have an overabundance of toys. In fact, I’ve visited with many mothers who complain about the seemingly endless stream of toys that their children receive from grandparents. One solution to this that can please everyone is to respectfully ask that grandparents (and other relatives) sometimes give books instead of toys. Grandparents still get to have fun shopping for and giving gifts, and grandchildren still get to open gifts and have fun with something new.
My little ones are still pretty young, but I hope that by using these strategies now that my kids’ love of reading will stay with them as they age.
Do your kids love to read? What things do you do (or did you do) to foster this love?
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