There are so many benefits to raising a reader. Here are 5 tips for setting your kids on the right path.
I remember the joy of receiving and reading new books as a child. I’d sit under the comforting shade of a tree or sprawl on my quilt-covered bed and immerse myself in the worlds of Nancy Drew or Laura Ingalls Wilder. I then watched as my second-grader read the Laura Ingalls Wilder “Little House” series that I loved so much as a child.
In an age of touch screens and apps, I love encouraging my daughters to pick up a good book and get lost in it. Reading is so beneficial and is a simple step toward joy that they will take with them the rest of their lives. There’s nothing quite like losing yourself in the pages of a book.
Here are some of my tips for raising a child who loves to read.
Read to your children from infancy and beyond
I read to my girls constantly when they were babies–sweet classic board books like “Goodnight Moon,” funny ones like “Pajama Time” and lift-the-flap books like “The Wheels on the Bus.” A bedtime story was always part of our nightly ritual. Even when they became way too big to curl up on my lap (comfortably at least), I continued to read a book aloud with them at bedtime.
Get to know your local library
As soon as your child is ready to sit up and enjoy board books, take her to your local library. I remember my older daughter sifting excitedly through all the baskets of colorful books at our neighborhood library when she was just 3. My girls both got their own library cards at about age 5. Your local library system is an excellent resource for not only books, but for free enrichment programs and reading hours.
Set an example as a reader
If your children see you setting an example as a reader who truly loves discovering and reading books, they’ll be more likely to want to discover the world of reading. I now have a Kindle and take it with me wherever we go.
Build your own library
We have a great collection of books at home. My girls will go on tangents where they love a particular author so we will buy the series. I also add suggested books to their Amazon wish list throughout the year. Books make great birthday and Christmas presents, and their grandparents and aunts and uncles love to see what’s on their reading wish lists.
Make books a part of your holiday traditions
We love having special holiday-themed books that celebrate everything from Easter to Halloween. This is also a great way to share holiday books you recall from your own childhood. Our Christmas book collection is well loved, and my girls (and I) look forward to getting those books out every holiday season. Some of our favorites include books that my mother bought for me when I was their age. Books are truly wonderful gifts from the heart that can be passed down from generation to generation.
How do you encourage a love for reading in your children? Share your ideas in comments below.