On a recent visit to a friend’s house, I noticed children books everywhere. Their 17 month old was obsessed with books. You could not sit down without her bringing a book over to you and asking if you would read it. I was so impressed. I love to read, but haven’t been able to instill that same love in my kids. I committed to doing better. It has only been a week, but already I have noticed my two at home loving books more than ever. Here are the top tips I suggest for encouraging a love of books from a young age:
Read with them:
The best way to start a love of books is to make reading time together time. Kids love time with mom and dad, so even if they aren’t that into the books, they will be into the time. Read aloud to them, use fun voices. Start young. Your child is never too young for you to read to them, and never too old. When I was growing up, my Dad used to read book series like Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe to us at night. We loved it. I read Robinson Crusoe to my kids and they loved it! Harry Potter is an exciting series for all ages. Admittedly I can get pretty sick of reading the same books over and over, but that is what the library is for!
Set the example:
Let them see you reading. Kids always want to do what mom and dad are doing. Every kid in my family loved reading growing up, and still do. And I attribute that to my mother who could always be counted on to be reading a good book. It was her love, hobby, and passion, and she shared that with us. I still call my mom when I need book suggestions.
Give kids an ownership of books. Take the to the library and bookstore to choose their own books, even though they don’t get to keep them. Give books as gifts. Set up a shelf in their room with books that are theirs. Let them choose what they want to read, and don’t force what you think is best. Also, keep it age/reading level appropriate so it is not a struggle. Reading should be fun, not a chore.
Make books fun:
Books are fun on their own, but face stiff competition with electronics, games, and outdoor play. Make reading even more fun. Involve books in learning, crafting, and play. Make things from books. Try recipes, crafts, and activities. And it doesn’t have to be a craft book or recipe book to make this work. You can say, “Did Amelia Bedelia bake cookies? We should too.” Do whatever you can to include projects, crafts, and fun from books. Plan activities that involve books. How about acting a book out?
When we were planning a vacation last summer we took the kids to the library and got all kinds of books about our destination. Not only did that help the kids learn more about where we were headed, but it made them excited to read more.
Make sure they have time:
Kids who are over-scheduled with activities will find it challenging to fit extra reading in. Leave time for them to explore other worlds, lives, and stories with reading. Limit screen and television time, and keep extra curricular activities under control so that they have time to read!
What do you do to encourage your kids to read and love books?