Reading, in general, is on the decline. Instead of picking up a good book, many kids and adults alike would rather play on their phones and tablets, play video games, or watch TV. Because of this, it is more important than ever to instill a love of reading in my sons.
Getting your kids to read and like it really isn’t as difficult as it may seem. With these five simple steps, you too can raise little readers. Of course, it is best to start when they’re young, but even older kids can turn into readers. There was a time when my oldest didn’t love reading independently as much as he used to love being read to, but we turned that around. Now he is a teenager who often has his nose in a book.
While I don’t feel like I’ve done anything magical in my parenting that has cultivated a love of books in my children, here I am with two kids who love to read. How did I do it?
1. Have books in the house.
Both children’s books and books for adults are important to have around. Kids tend to emulate their parents, so if books are something they see every day, they will think of them as normal. Then reading for fun won’t seem like a foreign concept. Whether you have a full library, a few bookcases, or a small shelf, just have some books in the home.
2. Read to them.
This might seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how few children are read to regularly. With everyone being so busy many kids don’t get a bedtime story every day, much less stories throughout the day. While we read to my two-year-old almost anytime he wants a story, a book at bedtime every night is part of his bedtime routine.
For older children, encourage them to read for a period of time before bed. For my oldest son, part of his bedtime routine was to go to bed and read for a half hour before lights out.
3. Let them see you read.
Children learn by example. It’s as simple as that.
4. Visit the library or bookstore regularly.
My children and I visit the library or bookstores several times a month. In addition to traditional bookstores, I frequently take my kids to thrift stores or used bookstores. I love used books, there is something magical to me about their smell. There are many places to buy used books and it’s a great way to build your child’s collection as well as your own without draining your bank account.
And lastly. . .
5. Encourage their interests.
With my older son, I tried to push my ideas of what I thought he should be reading on him. This was a mistake. Predictably, all he did was push back. I’m a bit of a control freak, I own that. So once I got over myself and encouraged him to read what he wanted, he started reading more. After developing a habit of reading, he started to devour books that were more age appropriate and challenging.
That’s it! It really is quite easy to get your kids to love reading with just a few simple steps. In the process, you may also find that you love reading more as well.
Follow my Pinterest boards to find some great books to add to your child’s library, or even your own.
- Children’s Books for Ages 2-6
- Books for Early Readers and Pre-teens
- Books for Teens and Young Adults
- Books, Books, Books!