I was a bookworm when I was little and remember LOVING everything about books. I would always plead with my mom to order all my Scholastic book choices, would make my own little books based on some of my favorite stories and read every The Babysitters Club and Sweet Valley High books ever written. That love for reading helped me realize my college major (English) and has led me to my current profession as a writer.
I still like to read, but don’t do it as often because my three littles tire me out, but I really want to get back to it (here’s a great book list to check out if you’re looking to read more, too). I’m hoping my love for reading passes down to my children and am doing my best to help them on their love of reading journey. Reading not only helps children build necessary language skills, but it also strengthen their cognitive abilities. If you want your child to fall in love with reading, here are a few handy tips to start incorporating into your family routine:
1. Create a comfortable reading space
To encourage your child to want to read, you’ll want to set up a comfortable space that they’ll want to escape to whenever they feel like letting their imagination run wild in the pages of a new title. Creating a reading nook in your home will inspire them to take a break each day to sit down and read. It doesn’t have to be some grand space, but just an area that entices them to sit down with a book. Add things like book shelves, child-sized furniture and lots of pillows and blankets. Don’t forget small touches that interest them and lots of books they’ll love to explore.
2. Have frequent trips to the library
Make it a point to frequent your local library as often as you can so that your child feels as if it’s an exciting place. Many libraries have special children’s sections and offer story times that makes reading fun. Get a library card for your child and demonstrate the responsibility that comes with that card. Allow them to pick out a few of their own book choices and then give them the responsibility to take care of the books.
3. Books and movies
Books are always better than their movie counterparts, but that doesn’t mean that the movies aren’t a great way to help your child love reading. Choose special books that have movies to read with your child and then after a few chapters or once the book is finished, show them the movie. Schedule a family movie night and then talk about how the book and movie are different and the same. You can also take your child to plays or performances based off some of their favorite titles.
4. Connect their reading to something in real life
Your child will be more engaged with what they’re reading when you help make the connection to real life. You can go on trips based around things your child is reading. If they’re reading a book on dinosaurs, head to a local museum. If they’re reading something on sea life, go to a nearby aquarium. And it doesn’t even have to be somewhere elaborate. You can easily connect the reading to something you do in the backyard or at a neighborhood park.
5. Be the example
If you show your child that you love reading, they’ll follow in your footsteps and will love it, too. Carve out some time after dinner to read together as a family, have talks about the books you read and ask them about their favorite topics. Show them that you love reading your own preferences and make reading apart of your regular routine as much as possible.
Reading is a magical thing and don’t worry if your child isn’t as excited for it as you. You just have to find something that they are interested in and they’ll soon realize how fun reading is. Don’t push it too hard and just let their interest grow naturally. What are some other ways you’ve helped your child fall in love with reading?