Are you raising readers? Instill a love for reading in your kids with these nine strategies.
These ideas are family tested, and each idea has been a hit with our own children. Then add your reading tips to the list in the comments. We are always excited about discovering new ways of encouraging our children to read and grow.
1. Begin reading to your children early, and set big goals.
Our library has a 1,000 books by kindergarten program. As a part of this program, our friendly librarian provided us a poster with 250 footprints on each side. For every book we read to our toddler, a footprint gets stamped off. When one poster is completed, we will exchange it for a second one. Of course, toddler books are short. However, 1,000 books before kindergarten are still quite an accomplishment. Jenny and I have found that setting a big goal helps us be more intentional about reading to Addison. [Tweet “When it comes to reading to our kids, it’s never too early to start.”]
2. Expand your children’s reading horizons.
The first time Jenny took our girls to the library, she insisted that they get one reading book, one hands-on book (such as a science, craft, or art book), and one learning book. Initially, our children were skeptical. Yet, over a year later, Brooklyn–our middle child–still insists on checking-out a book from each category. When it comes to reading, there is a temptation to play it safe. However, when children are stretched, they broaden their reading horizons and discover new books they love.
3. Take Advantage of bedtime stories.
If reading is a challenge in your home, try offering your children the choice to go to bed or hear a bedtime story. The bedtime story will win every time. [Tweet “Children learn to love reading by reading, and by being read to.”] Habits–even good habits–are difficult to break. Parents who read to their children will soon have the privileged of watching their children read to themselves.
4. Let Your kids have fun.
Sometimes us parents get too worked up over which books our children read. I remember reading a Bible comic-book as a teenager. It was the entire Bible, written comic-book style. I devoured it over several days. It was a book that helped me grow my love for reading, and as a result, my reading skills improved. Last summer, when our daughter checked out a stack of comic books from the library, the librarian let out a sigh of disapproval. Nevertheless, this year, Mackenzie’s reading is stronger than ever. [Tweet “Reading something is always better than reading nothing. “] Even fun books help our kids to grow!
5. Download audio-books.
Amazon Audibles is a hidden gem. I took Amazon up on their two free books, trial offer. Now I’m hooked! The girls and I will be finishing the third installment of the Harry Potter series on our drive to school. Listening to audio-books is an excellent way to help children expand their vocabulary and imagination.
6. Keep books everywhere.
To raise readers, try keeping books everywhere. I insist that our girls keep a book in their backpack and in the car. If a book is close by, they will read.
7. Model a love for reading.
Parents who want their children to love reading must love to read themselves. [Tweet “Reading is as much caught as taught.”] When our children see us making time for books, they will follow our lead.
8. Read collaboratively.
Growing up, nightly devotions were a time of collaborative reading. We would have a different reader each night. Switching readers allows kids to experience different reading styles. Getting everyone involved in the process sends that message that reading is important.
9. Reinforce reading with movie rewards.
I love to read a book to my girls and then watch the movie together. So many excellent books that have been made into movies. A movie and pizza night is a fun treat for kids to work toward. Our family is currently doing this with the Harry Potter series and previously did this with the Narnia books. Talking about how the movies and books differ makes for an engaging discussion, and it’s an excellent way to reinforce what has been read.
How Will You Instill a Love for Reading in Your Kids?
How are you instilling a love for reading in your kids? Have any of these strategies worked well for you? What other tips do you have for raising readers? I look forward to learning from you and continuing the discussion in the comments below!
Finally, for more insights on kids and reading, be sure to check out this open letter to my girls on must-read books!