Raising Readers: Five Ways to Instill a Love or Reading
Written by Maria Dismondy
Reading is essential for so much in our lives. It provides children with access to explore other cultures, to take an adventure, to learn a new skill and much more.
How do we as parents instill a love of reading? As a former reading teacher, author of over a dozen picture books and a parenting book, I can share the top five tips for what has worked for our own three children as well as all of the students I taught to read.
#1 Include Books into Your Daily Routine
Need to get ready for work? Put a basket of books in your bathroom for kids to explore while you get ready. Cooking breakfast? Books in the kitchen! Driving around town to get kids here and there? Forget the screens and get them in the habit of browsing books while on the go.
Above all, try and incorporate books into a nighttime routine. It’s a calming activity for the brain and it’s great for building on your relationship with your child. Allow time for snuggles too!
#2 Fill Your Home with Books
How do you get books into your home, especially if there are limits on your extracurricular spending?
-Shop thrift stores. You can often find books for less than a dollar and in pretty good shape!
-Shop garage sales.
-Visit your local library. We like to keep a special “book bag” in the kids rooms to store their library books so they don’t get mixed in with our family books.
-Put our a request for books from family and friends on your social media. You will be surprised to see how many people have books at home that they no longer need or read!
-Reach out to local literacy nonprofits. They will find a way to get books to fill your home library!
#3 Tap Into Your Child’s Interests
Even if you aren’t dealing with a reluctant reader, it’s a wise idea to get books that match your child’s interests. Our son went through some really fun phases of hobbies. Trucks, Cars, Hockey, Historical figures and my favorite above all was how things were built!
Providing a variety of nonfiction, biography and historical books are important for even young readers. Fiction is fun but it’s not a favorite for all readers!
#4 Think Outside of the Box
Even busy families can make time for reading. Check out audiobooks on your phone and listen to them in the car when you are on the go! Make it extra fun by reading a book with your children then watching the accompanying movie for family movie night!
I’ve been know to keep books in my purse to entertain our kids at restaurants and in desperate times, at haircuts appointments for myself!
#5 Model Reading
My husband reads the news every morning. I am old fashioned and it does drive me crazy that he reads on his phone. Regardless, I’ve made sure our kids know that when Papa is up drinking his coffee on his phone, it’s current events he is learning about. We put limits on screens and encourage anyone up that early to read with us in the living room while we have our coffee!
I love to read but it’s hard to find time working a full time job, parenting and you know, all the things! On school nights, my son and I snuggle on the couch (he’s in 4th grade now, and our youngest) and read together. Sometimes he reads to me, sometimes I read to him and there are times we read our own books but sit together.
Every family is different but one thing that remains constant is that to raise a reader, it takes some modeling and encouragement.
Start while they are young and it won’t be a chore or feel like homework to them.
In the words of Dr. Seuss himself,
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.”