Overview: We all want our kids to love reading. Teaching them to read is not enough; we must provide an environment that encourages them to enjoy
If there were a 12-step program for reading addiction, I would be in it. “Hi, my name is Ann, and I am a read-aholic.” I can't remember a time when I didn't love reading. Characters in
Frankly, I would rather read than be a responsible adult; and if I am behind in my housework, it is because I stole a few extra minutes to finish the chapter I was on. (And maybe snuck in another complete chapter — or two.)
So I am really glad that all my children love reading, too. When we come home from the library, a quiet settles over the house, because we've all grabbed a new book and hunkered down somewhere. Nobody is pestering to get on the computer or watch a movie, because there are new stories to be savored.
It is a no-brainer that reading develops many faculties in a child. A larger vocabulary, better grammar and spelling, writing skill – all of these are positively affected the more a child reads. Children learn from what they are exposed to; so the more the immersion in great stories, the better their language skills will be.
It's important to realize, though, that it's not enough just to teach our children TO read – we must encourage them to LOVE to read. Obviously this can't be forced, and I'm sure there are exceptions to what I'm about to say; but I believe most children will learn to love reading if we practice just a few habits in the home.
10 Tips to Encourage Your Kids to Love Reading
1) Set an example. This is the obvious first step. If your children don't see you reading, they will see no reason to read for themselves. Some people claim they don't have time to read. I confess that I've never understood that. I can ALWAYS find time to read, y'all. If I were on the Titanic, and it was sinking, I'd be reading on the life boat.
But seriously, if there is time for watching TV, there is time to read. If there is time for Facebook, there is time to read. Your children need to see you reading your own
2) Read aloud. I think every parent knows the importance of this one, especially when the kids are too young to read for themselves. That time spent reading a bedtime story is so beneficial on so many levels, and most of us do put it into practice. It's also good to continue the practice when they're older, even as a family group sometimes. Then each of the ones that can read can take a turn being the speaker, as well as mom and dad. What better way to encourage them to love reading than to build a fun family time around it?
3) Teach respect for
4) Make library visits a priority. We go to the library every two weeks, and the library workers have become friends. Going to the library regularly means there is a constant influx of new stories in our home. There is also access to many types of
5) Have LOTS of
6) Schedule free reading for a large chunk of the school day during the elementary years. If you homeschool, this makes a great transition with what used to be naptime; now, instead of sleeping, the child is on his bed reading
My own kids had two hours of free reading time every day during those years. It was enforced to be reading time, not drawing or playing or anything else time. (Another reason to have a large selection of
Related Reading: The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling With Biographies by Joan Concilio at Unschool Rules
If you don't homeschool, you can still schedule reading time in the afternoons or evenings. Right before bedtime works well, because it helps the kids settle down a little bit before lights out.
7) Listen to audio
8) Watch movies based on
9) Monitor what your child reads. Y'all, this one is VERY important to me. There are many parents out there who do not bother to make sure that their child is reading age-appropriate material. Just because it is in the juvenile section of the library does not automatically make it a helpful book for your child to read.
Also, it IS possible for a library to wrongly categorize a book; I've found full-on sex scenes in
Please, please, please: help your child choose which
10) Do not legislate book selection. This is the complement to #9. Yes, DO carefully supervise what your child is allowed to read, even recommend
As a parent, one of the best sights ever is seeing your child absorbed in a book. And what a joy it is to then sit down with them and read your own! Encourage them to love reading, and this will be a common occurence. :-)