Raising a Child who Loves to Read
Raising a child who loves reading is one of the biggest gifts you can give children. There are many benefits of reading with kids and it has been proven over and over that children who love reading do better academically that those who only read when they need to.
But, how do you teach your child to love reading?
How do you make your child want to read, by choice, and not just because they are being told they should?
First of all, check out our post on the Stages of Reading Development.
Then, below you can find 12 ways you can instill a love of reading right from the start and continue that love right throughout adulthood.
1.Read aloud to your child from birth
From day one read aloud to your child. Babies understand more than you may think, and although they cannot respond, they will be taking everything in that they hear. The first years of life are the most crucial to language development, and the more words children hear the better. So start reading early to reap those benefits.
2.Create a bedtime routine where you read together every night.
Reading bedtime stories every night creates a routine that your child can get used to. By creating this routine where you read every night, it will help your child learn what to expect. Reading to your child in bed before they go to sleep can also help calm them down after a busy day, and also help you bond together. Encouraging your child to read before bed can set them in a routine that they may follow on their own as they grow older.
3.Read WITH your child not just TO your child
While reading to your child is important, reading with them is as well. Rather than rushing through the words on the pages, take time to discuss what is happening on each page together, perhaps guessing what is going to come next. Teaching your child to understand what they are reading is just as important as the reading itself.
4.Let them skip the pages
Yes, it can be frustrating when you are reading a book to your young child and all they want to do is turn the page. When you can hardly get a few words in and they have skipped a few pages already. However it is important keep reading time enjoyable, so it will teach your child to love reading.
By constantly stopping them from turning pages, and therefore forcing them to look at a page they don’t want to, it will just create problems and they may not want to continue reading at all. Talking about what is on each page can help them stay on one page for longer, but in general if they want to skip pages, just let them.
One way of dealing with it is either read the book from memory (if you know it), or make up the words as you go along. You could also read aloud another book along side them while they look at the pictures of the one they have.
5.Keep a variety of books in your home
A home library is important for all children. It doesn’t have to be huge or anything flash, it can simply be a corner of the room where you keep their books on a shelf or in a box. The important thing is that their books are in sight, and there are a variety of books that they can read when they want to. From picture books to story books, hard cover and soft cover books, lift the flap and pop up books. Children need a variety of books to choose to keep them interested and love reading.
Recommended: TOP Story Books for Kids in English
6.Let kids read what they want to read
Children will read more often if they enjoy what they are reading, so let them choose. If you have given your child a story book and they would rather read a magazine, let them. (Of course always be careful to make sure it is not anything they shouldn’t be reading). But as long as it is in reason, let them read what they want to read. The fact that they are choosing to read themselves, means that you are already helping to instill a love of reading.
7.Do activities together involving the books you read
Making a game or activity out of the books you read together can be a fun way to encourage your children to love reading. For example drawing the characters in one of their favourite books, or acting out their favourite scene together. This can also help children understand the book better.
Check out our post on Literacy Activities for Kids.
8.Don’t push your child to learn to read before they are ready
All children develop at different stages. While some children will be ready to read early on, many will not. It is important to let them take the lead when it comes to teaching your child to read. If they are keen, by all means encourage them, but forcing them will make reading feel like a chore and something that they have to do, rather than something enjoyable.
Teaching your child to love reading involves helping them to enjoy and want to read themselves, rather than being forced.
9.Don’t stop reading to your kids when they learn to read themselves
Just because your children learn to read themselves, it doesn’t mean you have to stop reading aloud to them. Reading to children as they get older is still just as important. Usually when children learn to read they start with short simple books. However, you are still able to read them longer stories with more words and this will allow them to learn more complex vocabulary. It will also help to keep your routine and time to bond.
10.Be a good example and read yourself in front of them
Even if you don’t enjoy reading yourself, it is important to set an example. So, if you love reading books, read in front of them. If you don’t like reading books, perhaps read a magazine, or even a children’s book. In many cases you will find, if you set an example and choose a book to read yourself in front of your child, they may just follow your lead and choose a book to read themselves.
11.Visit the library together
A great habit to get into is visiting the library with your children. Libraries have such a wide selection of books available to look at, and a very calm environment. Children are able to choose and look at a variety of different books that they may not have at home. This will also give you the chance to borrow different books and see which books your child enjoys reading. It is also a fun opportunity for children, being able to choose different books to borrow each time without the added cost of making a purchase.
Let’s face it, it is much easier to give your child the I-pad or put them in front of a TV if they are bored or you are tired. However if children get used to using technology to cure their boredom , they will expect it more and more.
By having books where they can see them, and encouraging your children to take them out to read when they are bored, this will help them to make better choices, especially if they know that screen time isn’t one of them.
Teaching your child to love reading
Teaching your child to love to read is one of the most important things as we can do as parents. Educating them and instilling a love of reading right from the start has many benefits and can help children to become confident readers in the future. There is nothing better than watching a child who loves to read curled up enjoying a book by choice.