When my kids were very young I always worried (and still do, to be honest) that somehow I, an avid and passionate reader, would end up with kids who hated books. I wanted desperately to inspire them love reading–but how?
My kids are now 8 and 13, and both of them love to read. What I discovered as they were growing up was that raising readers wasn’t as hard as I had feared. After all, reading is fun, and reading as a family is even better! When you start out reading together, kids are more likely to continue on their own as they get older. And when kids see you reading and enjoying it, they’re more likely to pick up a book as well.
Today, in honor of our FAMILY READING theme of the week, I’ve put together a few ideas for things you can do as a family to encourage a joy of books:
1. Read to your kids at bedtime (or at mealtime, or after school, or whenever is convenient, but try to do it every day). This has been said many times before this, but it bears repeating. Kids never get too old to be read to.
2. Talk about the characters in the books you’re reading as if they were real people. For example: “If the Weasleys were our next door neighbors do you think we would be friends with them?” Or “Which of the bugs in James and the Giant Peach would make the best teacher?”
3. Act out scenes or stories that you’ve just read. Be Geppetto to your child’s Pinocchio, or Rumplestiltskin opposite the Miller’s Daughter. Bringing stories to life through role-play makes them memorable and fun.
4. Read a lot of different kinds of books. Don’t just focus on the classics, or just on the current fads; read many genres so your kids see the wide variety available to them.
5. Go to the library regularly, and let your kids be in charge while you’re there. Go once a week, once a month, whatever fits your schedule, but go regularly. The library gives your kids choices, freedom, and exposure; three things that are GREAT when it comes to raising readers.
6. Give books as gifts at times when kids traditionally get candy: In stockings, spring baskets, or when they lose a tooth… this makes books exciting and a treat. And it’s much better for their teeth!
7. Make books a part of your dinnertime conversation. Talk about what books you’re reading, what you think about them, what you want to read next. Show your kids that reading can be a social activity as well as a solitary one
8. Share fun and interesting trivia about your child’s favorite books or authors. Even just reading the dedication at the front, and the “About the Author” on the back flap of the book can be fascinating and illuminating to a young reader.
9. Have books in your home, in as many corners of your home as possible. The more books you have lying around to more likely it is your child will pick one up. This doesn’t mean you have to buy an entire bookstore; you can trade books with friends, borrow from the library, or find inexpensive books at garage sales or used book stores. Put books in places that will be impossible to resist.
10. Read in interesting and unusual places. Take Winnie the Pooh with you to the woods, bring Hansel and Gretel on your next hike. Or better yet, have the Reading Rainbow App Library with you wherever you go, ready to pull out the perfect book at the park, the beach, or even while waiting for your dinner in a restaurant!
It turns out there’s no trick or secret to raising kids who love books. All you have to do is make reading a natural part of your life, and they will incorporate it naturally into theirs.
Reading Rainbow Mom
Reading Rainbow’s mission is to inspire a love of reading in children and connect them to the world they live in through quality literature so they believe that they, “can go anywhere, be anything.”
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