My son loves to read. He prefers reading to almost any other activity (except the chance to play a family board game, maybe). A lot of people say we are lucky he likes to read. Maybe so. I do think there are some kids who inherently love to read, but I also think we fostered this love of reading from the start.
What can you do to raise a child who loves to read?
Read to your child from infancy.
Read, read, and read some more to your child. I started reading to our son from the beginning! I would read anything, as long as he heard my voice. As he got older, I’d read him his books as I rocked him before bed. Kids books tend to have a beautiful rhythm to them and can be almost poetic when read aloud. Not only does it help raise a reader, but it is soothing to them, and it helps with bonding.
Make reading to your child a routine.
As I mentioned, I started reading every single night as I rocked him. It was part of the bedtime routine. We would get a bath, and then settle in for a nightly book. We started with board books such as Goodnight Moon or The Runaway Bunny. Then, we grew into My First I Can Read books, such as Pete the Cat. Even once we were into chapter books, we still kept the reading going – though it was a chapter a night rather than a whole book.
Once your kids start reading, read together!
Once your child learns to read, don’t stop reading to them. Rather, read together! My son and I would take turns reading paragraphs or pages. Sometimes, I would assign him a character to read and when we came to that part, he would have a blast reading it in the character’s voice!
Keep plenty of options for reading at your house.
If there are no books available, they won’t have an option to read. You want to keep as much reading material lying around as possible! Make it enticing and at their fingertips!
Visit the library.
The library is magical. I remember loving it as a child, and my own love it too. There are so many books right at your fingertips, and the choices are endless. Get them their own library card too. It makes them feel so grown up, and they feel in control of their reading!
Pick books your child ENJOYS reading.
As they get older, don’t focus on things you THINK they have to read. Find a genre they enjoy, and let them read it! You want to read what you enjoy – and read what brings you happiness. If they connect happiness and joy to reading, they are more likely to do it. You don’t want it to be a task!!
Graphic books or novels are ok!!
If your child wants to read a graphic novel, that’s fine. It’s still reading. Who cares that it has illustrations? It’s going to foster their love of reading, regardless. There are some fantastic, award-winning graphic novels now too. I know Bone is popular among the 3rd graders because mine checked it out of the library and told me “everyone is reading this”. El Deafo was the local library summer reading selection last year, and my son immensely enjoyed it.
Read in front of your child.
I’m sure you have heard of Monkey See, Monkey Do. If you are reading around your child, you are setting an example. If you like to read, they are more likely to as well.
Do your children like to read? What books do they like? What have you done to foster the love of reading?