Reading is the gateway to different worlds and allows you to seek knowledge about any topic imaginable. Parents must encourage the love of reading in their children purposefully. We want our children to LOVE reading rather than forcing themselves to do so.
Reading is the backbone of education. If we want our children to be successful, a child must be able to read. If your child doesn’t read until they are seven years old, that is fine! However, we want our children to enjoy reading. Reading comprehensions starts early before your child reaches the age of preschool. Children notice street signs, books that parents read to them, parents reading themselves, stop signs, and more.
Don’t worry. There are easy ways to encourage the love of reading, even before your child is capable of reading.
10 Ways to Encourage the Love of Reading
- Be a Good Role Model
Children are sponges, and they soak up our habits and behaviors. Instead of flipping on the TV or scrolling on social media, pick up a book or magazine. Show your child that reading is fun and enjoyable for everyone. It doesn’t have to be a task that is drudgery.
- Encourage Your Child to Select a Book
You may want your child to read or listen to a specific book, and that’s fine. However, your child is more likely to enjoy a book that he picked out himself. That book might be about dinosaurs or fireflies. Don’t criticize his choice. Encourage your child to select a book that interests him. He may or may not ask you read to read it over again. Reading often means your child is interested!
- Try a Book Club
Whether you homeschool or not, setting up a book club or reading club allows kids to interact around reading. Boys in particular benefit from interacting with each other around texts. Clubs and interaction help to enhance their comprehension and makes reading more enjoyable.
- Set Aside Reading Times
Pick specific times throughout the week for reading. It might be the hour before bedtime. Homeschoolers, such as our family, might set a reading time after lunch when the littlest kids go down for a nap. Look at your schedule and decide what time you want as your reading time. Make it special and include blankets and hot tea.
- Visit the Library
Visiting the library is fun! Most libraries have play areas set up for kids to play, but it gives children a time to explore a range of books. Ask the librarian for recommends. Try to go to the library each week, and remember to participate in a summer reading program at the library.
- Listen to Audiobooks
Audiobooks are a great alternative for kids who are not reading or busy families. Most libraries offer free audiobook downloads, so check out their website. Have your child listen to books in the car, during lunch, or while working on an art project. Audiobooks encourage the acquisition of vocabulary, encourage comprehension strategies, and spark the imagination.
- Read the Whole Book First
It is tempting to want to discuss the story throughout the reading, but it is best to wait for any discussion. Let your child read the entire book before you start to pick it apart and talk about different topics. Stopping to discuss something in the story can change the pleasure and excitement in the story. Wait to discuss until you finished reading.
It is a good idea to encourage your child to narrate the story back to you. Narration encourages a child’s comprehension level. Your child should narrate the story back to you in his own words. Young kids may mention their favorite scene or give a very basic overview.
- Try a Book Series
There are book series for all ages. Book series make readers attach to the characters, and you want to find out what happens next. Kids become engrossed in the excitement of the story. Figure out what your child loves the most and look for book series in that interest. After the first book, he will want to know what happens with that awesome character!
- Let Them Dislike Books
If a child doesn’t like a book, that is fine! Kids should be free to let you know whether they enjoyed a story and when they didn’t. Make sure to discuss why they didn’t like the book, and use it was a way to choose future picture books in the future.
- Talk about the Books
In your daily life, try to talk to your child about the books you’ve read together. Mention similarities between events and stories you read. Figure out a field trip that might line up with the story. For example, if your child enjoys the classic book Blueberries for Sal, find a you-pick blueberry farm nearby. Read the story before you go and afterward!