7 Montessori-inspired ways to encourage a love of reading
Some kids naturally gravitate toward books, but if yours doesn’t, here are 7 tips you can try to encourage them. It’s never too early to start!
- KEEP BOOKS WITHIN REACH
In Montessori classrooms of all ages, starting with babies, there are always plenty of books within reach for the children.
Even if you have certain times you always read books, like before bed, it’s great to let your child choose reading as an activity for other times as well.
- ROTATE BOOKS
We have a pretty extensive collection of board books in our house, but I only have 3-4 out in my one year old’s room at once. I rotate them every couple of weeks, or as I notice him showing less interest in the books.
Rotating books allows you to offer variety, without overwhelming a child. Sometimes sorting through fifty books to find one just seems like too much effort.
Rotating books also encourages repetition, which is great for building vocabulary and language skills.
- READ EVERY DAY – EVEN WHEN IT SEEMS AS IF NO ONE IS LISTENING
My son has loved books pretty much since he was born but, like many children, he went through a stage when he was just too busy to sit for a whole book.
I still read books to him every day. He would crawl around while I was reading and sometimes pause to look over at the pictures. Know that your child is still listening and absorbing the language even if he’s not sitting still.
- LET THEM CHOOSE
Like many parents, I love the classics and also love sharing books that I cherished as a child (like this Madeline Book).
It’s also important to give children choices, and this includes reading material. Next time you take your child to the library, let her pick out two books and you pick out two books as well. That way you can make sure she has books she’s deeply interested in, while still exposing her to those she might not choose on her own.
This is especially important if you have a child going through a phase where she doesn’t like to read. It may be that a princess book or even a comic is what re-sparks her love of reading.
- CREATE A READING NOOK
In the Montessori classroom where I teach, we have a cozy reading nook with a comfy child-sized chair and lots of natural light. I try to recreate spaces like this throughout my home to entice my son to settle down with a good book.
- MODEL IT
Let your child see you read, not just to him, but for your own pleasure.
You can read a parenting book while your baby plays nearby or have a reading hour on the weekend where everyone spends time reading books.
We read so much on computers and devices these days that children don’t always get to see that adults enjoy books too. Show your tot that reading is a lifelong love, not something that’s just for kids.
- KEEP THE PRESSURE OFF
We all want our children to be successful at school and it can be hard not to get antsy if your friend’s child is reading and yours hasn’t yet reached this milestone.
Children sense our anxiety though, and this can hit the brakes on their own desire to read. Some children stop wanting to try when they feel too much pressure because they’re scared of letting us down.
So let your little one read to you when he wants, but keep it light-hearted. It’s more important to encourage a love of reading than for your child to start reading by any certain age.
It can be hard to let go, but try to trust your child. If you follow his interests and make reading accessible and fun, he will likely develop the love of reading you’re hoping for.