Some kids are born bookworms who will naturally turn to books throughout their lives as sources of information and entertainment. But for others, a love of reading is a learned behavior that comes along when they are taught that reading is a valued family priority.
Want to encourage your child to read? Here are a few tips to help you raise a book-lover.
Read to him. A child's love of reading begins in their baby years when they learn to associate books with cuddles, coos and kisses — but it certainly doesn't stop there. Many kids will continue to enjoy storytime well into their elementary school years. Even my tweenager likes it when I read her a chapter of a book in the evening before she settles in to read on her own.
Surround her with books. Keep books in your house .... everywhere in your house. In baskets next to the sofa, on a bookshelf in the living room, and on the nightstand in her room. The more accessible books are to read, the more likely it is she will pick one up. If cost is an issue, you don't have to break the bank to keep a healthy supply of books in the house. There are tons of great children's books available in used books stores or at the library. Which leads me to my next point...
Get him his own library card. At my local library, kids can get their own card as soon as they are able to write their own names — usually around preschool age. Sure, he can check out books on your card, but the whole experience will be that much more enthralling if he is allowed not only to pick out a stack of books to borrow, but also to carry those books to the counter and present his own card with which to "pay" for them.
Variety is the spice of life. Many parents think that reading only "counts" if the child is being challenged and reading a novel or work of non-fiction commensurate with their child's reading level. But that's not the case at all. Comic books, board books, picture books, kid-friendly newspapers or magazines, and websites are all great sources of reading material for kids. Non-fiction books are a good choice for kids who don't particularly like stories, but would be interested in learning more about their favorite topic, be it dinosaurs or football or cooking.
Be a reader. Do you send your kids upstairs to read while you watch the evening news or the latest reality show? Why not make that 30 minutes of family reading time instead? The kids can find a cozy spot on the sofa or floor and you can read to your kids, or read your own book alongside them while they read theirs. This is especially cool for tweens and teens who have graduated from storytime but could still benefit from the closeness of reading as a family.
How do you encourage your kids to read?