6 Tips to Help Your Kids Fall in Love With Reading

6 Tips to Help Your Kids Fall in Love With Reading
Reading out loud to children helps them develop listening and memory skills, and helps to cultivate a love of reading. (Evgeny Atamanenko/Shutterstock)

My mother, Virginia, loved to read, and as the saying goes: like mother, like daughter. When I was 5 years old, she took me to get my first library card—a treasure that led to a lifelong love for reading. Our regular excursions to the library were nothing short of adventures.

When I became a mother, I read to my own children from the day they were born. It was such a lovely bonding time that grew into a natural part of who we were as a family.

Reading is the gateway to delight, knowledge, and adventure. So how can you help your kids fall in love with reading? It’s simple, really. Create a reader-friendly home environment with these simple tips.

Read Aloud

Start by reading aloud to your babies. Babies love to snuggle close and hear their mama’s voice. In addition to being a wonderful bonding experience, the act of reading aloud helps even the youngest babies develop strong listening and memory skills.

As your kids grow, draw them into the different stories by pausing to ask them questions and encouraging them to predict what might happen next.

Read to your children as often as possible and choose from a variety of different genres each time, which not only provides your kids with a well-balanced experience, but also helps them to figure out what types of books they’d like to read.

Wholeheartedly engage your children in the story by adapting your voice and body language to match the different characters in the story. Whisper, giggle, shout, make faces, and really play the different parts.

Make reading aloud a special bedtime tradition by gathering your children, getting cozy on the couch, and sharing a new or favorite book.

For inspiration and guidance, read the best-selling “Jim Trelease’s Read-Aloud Handbook,” which you can find at Trelease-On-Reading.com or Amazon.

Take Your Children to the Library

There’s no better place than your local library to get your kids excited about books.

I highly recommend getting your children a library card as soon as they’re age-appropriate. Spend the afternoon in the children’s section, allowing your child to choose books and read them together. Then, help your child to pick out several books to borrow using their new card.

Introduce yourselves to the children’s librarians and help your children get acquainted with them, as they could very well be your kids’ newest BFFs. Visit often and take advantage of all the reading events your library has to offer, such as story times, summer reading programs, and seasonal activities based on books.

Model a Love for Reading

Modeling a love for reading is the best way to inspire a love for reading in your children. Read where your kids are likely to see you reading, either for pleasure or to learn a new skill such as how to bake a tasty new treat they’ll gobble up with glee.
Be dramatic. Laugh out loud when you read something funny and, if the passage is child-friendly, go ahead and share it with your kids.

Fill Your House With Books

Create a home library filled with a variety of books. I know books can be expensive, but your library doesn’t have to cost you a fortune. We regularly perused used bookstores, seasonal library sales, and yard sales. If you homeschool, many conventions host used book sales and you can always find a great assortment of gently used gems to satisfy every reader’s tastes.
An ideal home library should include both fiction and nonfiction books. Engage your children with seasonal picture books and wordless picture books. Include classics such as “Black Beauty” and “Little Women” as well as historical fiction books and biographies. Add in books of poetry, fairy tales, fables, and mythological tales. The “New True Books Series” will teach your children all about the many amazing people and places in the world.

Create Cozy Reading Nooks

Create irresistibly cozy reading nooks in strategic child-friendly spots in your house, such as a window seat, an alcove in the family room, in the open space underneath a stairway and, if you have the space, a corner in the kitchen.
Add a few brightly colored pillows, a bean bag chair, a lightweight blanket or throw, and a basket or two of books, and let the reading begin.

Pair Books With Fun Activities

Create positive, enjoyable connections for your kids by pairing books with fun activities. My husband has always been a railroad enthusiast, so naturally, our kids had train books and toys from day one, including a wooden train set with a few of the iconic train characters from “The Railway Series” such as Thomas the Tank Engine and Percy.

So whenever I’d read books about trains, our kids listened while holding their trains and acting out the story line or moving them along a small train layout on the floor nearby.

Or, you can engage your kids with “The Greatest Picnic in the World” by Anna Grossnickle Hines, and allow them to draw the perfect picnic lunch or pack a picnic basket with plastic play foods.

Karen Doll is a freelance writer and homeschooling consultant based in the small village of Wassergass, Pennsylvania. She enjoys writing about homeschooling, gardening, food and culture, family life, and the joys of chicken keeping. Visit her at AtHomeWithKarenDoll.wordpress.com
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