If I were to ask a room of parents what they wished their kids did more of, I can guarantee that one of the most popular responses (after “helping out around the house”) would be “I wish they loved to read.” As magical as reading and books can be, it is surprising the number of children who say they don’t like to read. However, I am a firm believer that every person can learn to love to read. When it comes to children, there are a few methods I always recommend to parents who want to foster a love of reading in kids.
7 Easy Ways to Foster a Love of Reading in Kids
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Encourage a Love of Reading in Kids
Tip #1: Read Aloud to Them:
I love this quote by children’s author, Emilie Buchwald: “Children are made readers in the laps of their parents.” How beautiful and true is that?! My kids alway love story time. And if the other families at the local library are any indicator, so do many other children. While kids may not inherently love to read on their own, they crave quality time with their parents as well as opportunities to engage in imaginative activities. You can start reading to your child at any age (the earlier, the better), increasing the length of the stories as they grow.
Reading aloud is one of our favorite things about homeschooling. It gives us time to connect with books and enjoy each others company while we learn.
Tip #2: Read Aloud with Enthusiasm
When you read to your kids, make sure you do so enthusiastically. Change up your tone of voice and your pitch. Reading in a monotonous tone, a la Ben Stein in the eye drops commercial is sure to put your child to sleep. What I recommend is spending a few minutes beforehand reading through (or skimming) the book before story time. That way you know what is coming up, have fun playing around with character voices and making the story come to life. Do this, and your children will be begging you to read their favorites over and over again.
Check out the book Reading Magic by Mem Fox, I love all of the wonderful tips shared in this great handbook.
Tip #3: Get Your Hands on Audiobooks
Have a bit of stage fright when it comes to putting on a show for story time? Or just feel like changing things up? Check your local library to see if they have an audiobook version that you can check out. Many books have fantastic production value as they hire voiceover actors and actresses to perform the stories. If you can’t find an audiobook version, you might luck out finding a video of someone reading the book on YouTube.
We love using Audiobooks in the car. It makes for a peaceful drive too 😉
Instill a Love of Reading in Kids
Tip #4: Read Books on Topics They Love
Here is one thing that I believe is universally true – even things that you hate to do can become more attractive if you introduce an element of something you LOVE. If your child doesn’t have any interest in reading, it could very well be because they just haven’t come across the books that will get them hooked. And the beauty of our universe is that there are books out there for every possible interest. All you have to do is get out there and look. And these days, you don’t even have to leave the comfort of home to track down the perfect book. If your library or bookstore don’t have it, you can find it online. Either way, there is an entire world of potentially mesmerizing books out there. Check them out!
Amazon is my favorite place to shop!
Tip #5: Check Out Book-to-Movie Adaptations
Every book-lover in the world probably has at least one memory of their favorite books. If that book gets turned into a movie, it adds an extra level of excitement. Whether they prefer the book or the movie, it’s exciting to see the book come to life on screen. Take this new excitement and play into it with your children.
When you see that a fun new movie is coming out that is based on a book, show them the trailer. Once you see that they want to watch the movie, let them know about the book and then set aside time to read the book. Then plan a movie night where you watch the movie together and discuss it. You can even make it into a big event if you want. Build up the excitement so that they will always associate that feeling with reading a good book.
We have regular family movie nights that the whole family looks forward to.
Tip #6: Have a Reward System
Kids love rewards. Give them what they want! Create a reward system where your children earn something cool for reading- whether with you or independently. Then follow through on the reward. Although it may feel like a form of bribery, you may find that reading becomes such a habit to them that they begin to enjoy it naturally and will start to read without any need for a reward.
Top #7: Don’t Quit
I know that it can be frustrating. And you may talk yourself into believing that your child will never love to read. But don’t give up! Keep introducing them to new stories. Try handing them more visual books, such as living picture books and favorite character books. Attend story time events and book signings. Ask your friends for recommendations of books their kids loved. Mostly, enjoy reading yourself. You never know when your love of reading will rub off on them.
What do you think, are you ready to try these reading ideas with your children? You can cultivate a love of reading in kids quickly by using a few of these tips. Now go forth and enjoy a good book 🙂
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