We all want our kids to have a love of reading! We want them to develop good reading habits and to start conversations. We hope they love going to the library and are reading lots of books. I think some children are born with a book in their hands, it just seems so natural for them and they love books from the time they are young.
For others, though it can be different, especially for our children who struggle to learn to read. They can become reluctant readers real fast. There are things we can do in our homes to encourage reading and to give our children a love of books! There is no guarantee these will work for every child but my guess is that it will for most!
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Start at an early age
The best way to start is by giving your child reading material. At first, when they are a young age it may just be cloth books, board books, and story times. It is a good idea to make it a part of their daily routine while they are little kids or even babies. Dr. Seuss is wonderful at young ages because children love the rhymes and fun pictures.
Have book basket time
This is something we have had in our home, you can read about it here! There are so many different children’s books you can fill this basket up with. You can fill it up with picture books, treasury stories, books on the subjects they are learning about, and much more! A Book basket with good books about specific subjects can make a perfect reading time. Just make sure to let them read them at their own pace.
Have great books around the house
Houses with books tend to have readers. Invest in some good bookcases, we have some in almost every room. Have books sitting out on the coffee tables, in baskets, and even in the bathroom. The more they are out the more likely a child will pick it up! You can even decorate with books by using them as stands and table decor. At Christmas, we even decorate with our favorite Christmas books around the house and around the tree!
Read aloud to your children, this has created so many wonderful memories with my children! They just love it! Start young, even babies love to be read to. Use expression and funny voices. Don’t stop when they are teens or even in high school, this is a time to find something challenging to read together which causes great conversations! My husband even loves when I read a great book to him(he doesn’t enjoy reading the same way I do) and my children hear and see this! It is wonderful for the whole family! Make reading aloud a part of everyday life.
Listen to Audio Books
Audiobooks are a wonderful thing. You can listen to them on a car drive, at home, or on vacation! There are some incredible audiobooks that have wonderful readers that bring a story to life! I will be doing a post soon on some of our favorites! I remember when we were listening to Harry Potter and the kids not wanting it to end.
They haven’t gotten so good at making audiobooks now they are like full-blown productions, many with a full cast. Audio Books are a great way to save your voice also, I find as I get older I don’t have as much wind as I used it, listening saves my voice!
One trick I learned when my kids were little was if their bedtime was 9 and I came to tuck them in and pray with them if I told them they could have 15 minutes extra for reading they almost always took me up on it. I mean 15 minutes to stay up, they would do anything! I knew they were getting some reading in and that was instilling a love for reading!
Let them see you read
Children learn best by what they see modeled. You are the perfect role model. If you read a lot they will want to read. Let them see you reading, going to the library on a regular basis, and buying books! My kids always know I’m on the lookout for a good book. Let them know why you love reading and how even as a grown-up you want to keep learning about things! If you are not a reader, at least find some good audiobooks to listen to so your children will know it is important to you!
Let them read what they want
(as long as it is appropriate for your standards of course) – Your children will have books that they have to read for school and they should. They need to understand that we don’t always love what we read but there are important stories and parts of history we need to learn.
However, when you can allow them to read what they want. I had a son who has a learning disability and for a long time just wanted to read I spy books and you know what? I let him because reading was stressing him and reading him I Spy books helped him enjoy “some kind of books” and I didn’t want reading to be a negative thing for him.
He still had to do his phonic lessons but for all other reading, I let him pick! Maybe it is comic books or books on animals or whatever! Let them choose! They will get past whatever stage they are in and they will make broader choices but help them through that time by giving them freedom!
Encourage them to join a book club
Most public libraries have book clubs for children. Your local library may only have them for tweens or teens but they are great to join when they can. Kids get to be with other kids who love books and have great discussions about reading.
I just read my first graphic novel recently for a book club and I couldn’t believe how much I got into it. Many kids love graphic novels and it is true reading. It counts! Of course, you want to encourage your kids to read all kinds of books but you also want to make reading fun, especially for the child who has a hard time getting into reading books.
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Help them find their favorite authors
I remember when my oldest loved all The Frog and Toad books, and then he went through a Beverly Cleary stage! Help them find great authors, when they are really young they don’t even realize they can get other books by the same person. If you find a book your child really loves show them other books by the same author, and they will be amazed!
Supply books on their interests
If you have a son interested in airplanes, get as many books as you can on airplanes. Each one of your children has interests, it may be Minecraft or LEGO, or American Girl Dolls! It may be on a particular subject or art! Whatever it is find books on it and again spread them out all over the house! Your kids will find them and that is a good thing! We love the library but make sure they own books of their own too, children love to look through some books over and over again! It is wonderful to have a home library with books for all ages.
Introduce them to the library young
It is never too young to introduce your children to the library! Take them to storytimes and special events when they are young. Show them how to pick out books and when they are old enough let them get their own library card! This is a great way to give your children a love for their library and for great books!
“A room without books is like a body without a soul.”Marcus Tullius Cicero
You can do all of these things and still have a child that doesn’t enjoy reading. Your children are individuals with their own passions and interests. You may also find you don’t think they will love reading and voila they become a young adult and they start loving it. I have seen this with one of my children. These tips can help. They show your children how wonderful books are and they introduce them to a beautiful, educational hobby from the beginning but like anything, there is no guarantee. Either way, it is OK! Enjoy your children for who they are and you just might pick up a new hobby or interest from them!