We are told early on as parents how reading books is so valuable for a child’s development. Books foster a child’s imagination, help them understand other people and perspectives, instill empathy, and expose them to new vocabulary.
Starting in the early years, many parents read books as part of their children’s bedtime routine. It can be a special time for parents and children to bond, help children settle down before bed, and get lost in special stories.
But how can we keep the spark alive? As children get older, evenings become more hectic with activities, and reading can often become a “chore” as part of their school assignments.
Here are some ways I’m encouraging and supporting a love of reading for my children:
Model the Behavior
If you want to raise a child that loves reading, read yourself. Let them see you pick up a book to read, even if it is just a couple of pages. Talk about the books you enjoy reading or reminisce about books you read as a child. While it is tempting to pick up your phone when you have a free moment, consider keeping a book on hand to read a page or two. Children are more perceptive than we think and small actions like this will engrain reading as part of your home environment.
Start reading to your newborn. Even if they are too young to understand a story, they are listening to your voice, the cadence of the story text, and hearing new vocabulary. It is a sweet bonding time and exposes them to books and the routine of reading early.
Make Reading Accessible
Consider having a small bookshelf at home just for your children that is within their reach. Allow them to pick the books they want to read and join in on their excitement when they bring you their favorite book.
When you are headed out somewhere where there is time to wait, like a restaurant or doctor’s office, throw a few books into your bag and take advantage of the time to read or let them look at the books.
Make Reading Part of Your Family’s Routine
Dedicate time as a family to read books together. In addition to the benefits that come from reading, reading together creates a calm and cozy time of family closeness. Children will build fond memories of their time spent reading with family. Pick a time that works for your family. Take the pressure off of checking any reading logs and read together for pleasure.
Visit the Library
If you have babies and toddlers, many libraries offer a story time where you can attend in a group setting. They often have themed days with many books, songs, puppets, and an interactive storytime. As children get older, take them to get their own library card and let them explore. Take the pressure off of reading and let them lead the way with books they want to check out.
Continue to Read Aloud
Reading aloud still has many benefits even if a child already knows how to read. It exposes them to books above their reading levels, expands their vocabulary, and is a great stress reliever. Don’t stop just because they have learned to read!
How else do you encourage your children to love reading? I’d love to hear in the comments!
Love to read yourself or looking for books to read to your kiddos? Be sure to check out these posts from Atlanta Mom.