7 Ways To Instill A Love Of Reading In Your Child
“Children are made readers on the laps of their parents,” said award-winning author, Emilie Buchwald, who recognized the importance of reading from a very young age.
Learning to read is an essential life skill. Loving to read makes the process infinitely more enjoyable and successful. Not only does reading build vocabulary, it also fuels children’s imaginations, knowledge, creativity and curiosity.
Here are 7 simple ways to instill a love of reading in your children:
Begin at the beginning
Well before your child can recognize words, they are captivated by images and shapes, colors and objects. Start reading to your child as soon as they’re born. Not only will your voice prove soothing, it will also give you a time to relax, cuddle, explore and bond. Plus, it will establish a routine that you’ll both look forward to on a daily basis.
Make it a ritual
Consistency is key when it comes to creating a reading ritual. Whenever possible, read throughout the day, either after mealtimes, before nap time and always before bed. No matter what your child’s age, reading before bed helps them focus, calm their minds and bodies, and connect through story.
On days when your child is especially squirmy, don’t force reading time, but instead gently reintroduce it a few hours later or the following day. Sitting still is challenging, especially for toddlers, so start with short board books that are especially engaging for them.
Make reading interactive
The more your child is actively involved, the more likely they are to pay attention and become interested. Let your child turn the pages, point to pictures, read words they might know and ask questions. Remember the point of reading is not only to get through the story, but also to build understanding, interest and find joy in the process.
When it comes to reading, interrupting is perfectly fine. In fact, it’s welcome because it shows your child’s brain is whirring with active interest and curiosity If the interruptions become too frequent, however, gently alert your child that the story will answer their questions and request they read together to find out what happens!
Visit the library
The library is a magical place, filled with shelves and shelves of children’s books, kid-friendly seating, and read-aloud events. Plus, it’s completely free! Take advantage of all the books available to borrow and bring home, then exchange them for another fresh stack. Meet fellow parents, caretakers and children for storytime events and author visits. Your child will soon associate the library as a fun, exciting place to explore.
Put books everywhere
Keep books — from board books and interactive books to picture books and illustrated chapter books — within easy reach for your child. The more books they have access to, the more they’ll want to explore and browse. Plus, they can go to the bookshelf and choose their favorites, giving them a sense of independence.
Listen to audiobooks
Instead of listening to music while driving in the car with your kids, turn on an audiobook. Great for building focus, listening skills and attention spans, audiobooks engage children through narrators bringing a story to life with vocal inflections. Plus, they appeal to kids with a variety of reading levels, offering a way for children of various ages to simultaneously enjoy stories together.
Be a role model
As the saying goes, “kids do as you do, not as you say.” If you want to raise children who love reading, let them observe you reading, too. Your passion will rub off on them through your actions.
Try to model, whenever possible, reading actual books rather than electronic devices. Screens emit blue light, which can disrupt sleep. Plus, the experience of holding a book, turning pages and viewing printed illustrations offers a tactile experience that promotes fine motor coordination and a more relaxed focus than while reading on illuminated screens.
Even if you’re not a voracious reader, that’s okay. Simply take the time to read in parallel with your child and demonstrate the value of reading, both independently and together.