Most parents worry about their children learning to read. And beyond learning to be functional readers, most of us share a deep desire that our kids learn to LOVE reading.
To instill a love of reading in my children, we create an environment at home that encourages them to look forward to reading each day.
If your kids are older, don’t forget to encourage reading over the summer.
Here are the tips we implement at home to help our children fall in love with reading!
Make it a challenge!
Sometimes it feels like children do the exact opposite of what we ask. Try this with reading – tell your children, “I bet you can’t read for thirty minutes.” Your children will do everything in their power to prove you wrong. Sneaky? Maybe. But I guarantee that your child will start to love sitting down and reading for long periods of time, which is great for building stamina.
We had a lot of success with a FREE 30-Day Reading Challenge Printable that encouraged a little healthy competition among our kids. It is perfect for any age because you can track the number of books read or the minutes read for the month. My high school daughter and my Kindergardener had a lot of fun competing and it resulted in both of them reading more. Find out about why it worked so well for us when you download the printable! We added an incentive for the winner – whoever read the most got to pick the next family outing. (Ice cream or pizza anyone?!)
Let them pick what they want.
Some children develop a distaste for reading time because they feel like they stuck reading boring books. Allow your child to pick out their own book, no matter how silly or un-educational they seem. This will make them feel like they have a hand in their own success, and when they finish a book they’ve personally chosen, they’ll want to keep doing it. If you know your child loves graphic novels or princess stories, let them read those! If they read books that excite them, they’ll want to gobble them up and you’ll never have to force them to read. Give your child opportunities to be introduced to new books frequently, whether you bring them to a bookstore or take them to the library. If reading becomes a fun trip instead of a homework task each night, they’ll want to go back for more.
Make WHERE they read fun.
You might expect your child to sit in a specific area during their reading time. This is understandable if you want to be able to keep an eye on them. However, you might want to make reading time a treat by having them find a new spot to sit every time. For example, have them sit outside in their playground, or make a fun tent in the living room before reading. If your child can associate reading a book with being in a fun, comfortable environment they’ll be begging you to keep reading their books instead of watching television! Try giving your kids a flashlight and have them read in the dark. It is a whole new fun experience.
Turn reading into a conversation.
If you seem interested in a topic, you know your kids will talk your ear off. Take time to ask your children about what they’re reading. Ask questions about their favorite characters, and offer your own thoughts if they’re reading a book you enjoy or even a book you read as a kid. Ask your kids to write you a letter about what they read, and then write back! If your children feel like you’re invested in their reading, they’ll read as much as they can just to share it with you.
Read books in front of them.
Show your kids that you are an invested reader. When your children are reading independently, sit down and read in front of them. If your kids get distracted during your reading time, politely ask them, “Would you mind focusing on your own book? I’m reading a really good part in my story and I really want to share it with you once I’m done.” When my children see that I take reading seriously, they consider taking it seriously themselves. Make a point to share what you are reading with your kids.
Are You Raising Avid Readers?
Tell Us How in the Comments!
If you are continuously encouraging reading in your home in new and exciting ways, your child will begin to develop a love for reading even when they aren’t in school. So turn off the television, make a family reading nook, or head to your local bookstore or library, and get started!
Don’t forget to grab your FREE 30-Day Reading Challenge Printable!