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So, you want to raise a reader?
That’s great! Reading is a skill that our children can use their whole lives. It can bring adventure, thrill, peace, and calming to our lives. Reading helps us to learn about the world around us and stretches the imagination.
I have three daughters and right now they are all showing a strong love for reading. While I think everyone could find a book they enjoy, a love of reading is certainly able to be encouraged by us as parents and caregivers.
Below you will find my best tips for raising kids who love reading! At the end, you can sign up to instantly receive a printable sheet of 4 custom bookmarks to your inbox for your next reading adventure!
1. Read To Your Kids – Every Day
Now I know that might seem obvious but it cannot be said enough. Reading to our kids from the moment they are born (and sometimes even before!) brings books alive, makes them important, and starts our children from day one down the path of being readers themselves.
Our library (and MANY others) participates in the program called “1000 Books Before Kindergarten” that rewards young children for being read to by their parents. Kids can win stickers, free books, and even get their name in the newspaper after they reach 1,000 books read to them before Kindergarten. Tracking the books is as simple as using logs the library gives you or even just scanning books into the official 1000 Books Before Kindergarten app – scan any book barcode and it can be added to your list of read books!
Reading even just one book a day from birth will have your 1,000 books completed by your child’s 3rd birthday! The good news is, this doesn’t even have to be 1,000 unique books – you can read the same book more than once and count it multiple times!
Which brings me to my next tip..
2. Be Willing To Read “That Book” Over and Over and…
Yep…your child’s desire to read their one favorite book 100 times over is actually good for them! The more a young child reads a book the better their comprehension of the book. Plus, hearing the rhythm and words over and over and connecting it with the pictures in the story is exactly what will help to build their early reading skills!
3. Pay Attention To Your Child’s Interests
One of my all time favorite tasks as a mother has been in helping my children find books that are fun for them to read. I love thinking about each child as I walk the shelves of the library or the bookstore or scroll through Amazon’s latest discounts. What do they ask questions about? What other things have their interests? When my kids were interested in the ocean we read books on it! When I wanted to help my 4 year old with her A-B-C’s we read the best books I could find on it! I love having a chance to think about each kid and pick things that I know will delight them. Plus, they commonly ask me if I have picked them new books recently and they ask my opinion on stories – it’s a great connection.
4. Create Fun and Relaxing Spaces For Reading
I always emphasize that kids can read anywhere. My oldest is proof of that – she has read just about anywhere and everywhere in her first 7 years. Still, reading is way more enjoyable when you have a nice space to do it.
We keep chairs near our bookshelf in the toy room. We have a giant bean bag in the living room that the girls can all sit on and read. Outside we have a hammock chair that I regularly look out and find a kid curled up in with a favorite story.
5. Give Books Important Spaces In Your Home
The more your kids see books featured in your home, the more likely they are to pick them up and read. If you make a space in multiple rooms of your house where books are featured, your kids are going to realize their importance. We have bookshelf space in each of our girl’s rooms, in our family room, and in the playroom. A row of cookbooks is on our kitchen counter at all times and books are often found on end tables in our home. I can almost assure you that any room you enter, you will be able to find a book. More access = more reading.
6. Have an Electronics Lover? Let them read on an E-Reader!
Amazon sells Kindles at extremely good rates and along with it you can get access to TONS of free and really cheap books. Your electronics loving kiddo might just be a bit more tapped in if they know a book is on their favorite device.
7. Don’t stop reading with your child when they learn how to read themselves.
This is a BIG one. Reading is about more than just skill. It’s about connection and together time. So many people stop reading to their children as soon as they can read to themselves and they are missing a prime opportunity. Now that my oldest can read I let her fly through books at her own pace. Still, each night we read a book that I have chosen for us. Its so fun to share with her some of my childhood favorites like James and The Giant Peach, Bunnicula, and The Boxcar Children! Sharing reading with your kids keeps it fun and chore free.
8. Demonstrate Reading – Let Your Kids See You Read!
Now, I’m not talking about reading your phone or on the computer. Your kids need to see you reading books, magazines, even newspapers. They know that we know how to read Facebook, what they need to know is that we value literature!
I often run into parents who say they haven’t read in ages and that they wouldn’t even know where to start with finding a good book! Below I have a few of my favorite non-fiction and fiction reads suggested for you.
9. Use Your Library
Local libraries are amazing. They provide so much more than just books! They provide arts programs for kids and adults, summer reading incentives, story times for all ages, and so much more. Spending time at the library is a great free way to enjoy a morning or afternoon and spread the love of learning.
You never know, I might even be leading your library’s evening story time. 😉
Our library has a summer reading program that rewards kids for reading in the summer. It’s a lot of fun!
10. Buy Books – As Gifts, As Fun Splurges, As Important Parts Of Your Home
There are a lot of great ways to get free books. Yet, the things we spend our money on are often the things that become important to us and to our children. When kids see you giving books as gifts – it signals to them that books are important and treasured, something of worth. When they get to spend some money on a great book it gives that book value to them. You don’t have to own every single book in the world, but having some that your children can keep forever and never return is special and important.
Again, and most importantly, just read. Read every day and every where.
What have you found that has helped you to raise readers? What has been your greatest reading joy? Let me know in the comments!
Time To Grab Your Bookmarks!