You can ignite a spark, and instill a lifelong love for reading in your child’s heart one story at a time.
The journey towards appreciating books begins when children are little but can also be reintroduced to older children if things didn’t get off to a great start.
Choosing to take time to slow down and enjoy more family walks and make more time for reading has been one of the best quality decisions we’ve made for our family.
By creating a culture of reading, you can fill your home with great conversations surrounding books, authors, interesting facts, and blossoming imaginations.
Great books also make the best non-toy gifts for kids!
I’ll admit, I was not a “bookworm” growing up.
But after having my own children and learning how critical of a role books can play in a child’s life, I was determined to learn how to implement more reading in my children’s life.
The foundation for more reading had to begin with a true love and interest in reading with stories that could grab their attention, warm their hearts, and keep them in a place of wonder.
As physical books are competing with screens as never before, let’s not lose the tradition of curling up with a good book, turning the pages one at a time, and eagerly awaiting to pick back up where we left off with the marking of a bookmark.
Or, folded page.
Table of Contents
What is the importance of developing a love of reading?
Raising a child to be a lifelong reader is like opening the doors where learning has no bounds.
When we nurture a love for reading in our children, we gift them with skills to explore adventure, knowledge, and empathy through books.
Lifelong readers become avid learners, critical thinkers, and compassionate people.
Through the pages of books, they can explore different cultures, eras, and ideas, expanding their understanding of the world.
So, stay the course and foster a love for reading in your child. Even if it appears your child doesn’t have a strong interest in reading.
In doing so, we gift our children the keys to unlock their own reading journey with endless learning possibilities!
12 Key Areas to Grow a Love for Reading
- Start early
- Prioritize books
- Surround them with books
- Read aloud
- Let them choose
- Be a reading role model
- Create a reading routine
- Literacy activities
- Join reading communities
- Reduce (unnecessary) screen time
- Helping the struggling reader
Books are more than just pieces of paper bound together.
They hold possibilities and power within their pages.
Books transport us to far-off lands, introduce us to interesting characters, and teach us valuable life lessons.
They spark imagination, ignite curiosity, and broaden horizons.
By showing your children that books are important, you’re instilling in them the value of taking ownership of learning through books.
They begin to understand that knowledge is something to be cherished and that reading is a gateway to all types of knowledge.
Also, reading together creates a bond between you and your child, fostering a sense of closeness and trust.
Quality enjoyable books can make a great addition to any family’s everyday life!
Start Reading Early
Did you know that parents can actually start reading to their child even before they’re born?
It’s a beautiful way to begin fostering a love for reading in your little one from the very beginning.
Studies have shown that babies in the womb can hear and recognize sounds, including their parents’ voices.
By reading aloud to your unborn child, you’re not only bonding with them, but you’re also exposing them to the rhythm and melody of language.
Reading to your child at the youngest age possible can set the foundation for their future love of reading.
Reading to babies, even when they’re just a few months old, can have amazing benefits.
It helps develop their listening skills, language skills, and cognitive abilities.
Plus, it’s a beautiful way to create a calming and comforting routine for both the parent and the baby.
Even though they may not understand the words at first, babies learn to associate books with comfort, warmth, and love.
It’s amazing how something as simple as reading to a young child can have such a profound impact on their future love for reading.
Surround Your Home with Books
Building a home library is not as hard as it sounds.
Creating a space filled with books for your little ones is a great way to nurture their love for reading.
It doesn’t have to be fancy or elaborate. Nor, does it have to take over your home.
You can start small by setting aside a corner in their room or a shelf in the living room.
Then, slowly add books that cater to their age and interests.
Picture books, storybooks, and chapter books are the most common ways to start.
Even if children are interested in story books that seem “young” for their age are still okay to add to their library. Giving children readers they enjoy for fun still counts.
Don’t forget to include some classics too!
Now, here’s the exciting part: involve your child in choosing the books.
Take them to the library or bookstore and let them explore different genres and authors.
It’s like a treasure hunt that will pique their interest.
By having their own little library at home, your kids will have easy access to a world of imagination and knowledge.
Plus, seeing books around the house sends a powerful message that reading is valued and celebrated.
Creating a cozy reading nook can also make the experience even more inviting.
Remember, it’s not about the quantity but the quality of books you provide.
As you read together, let their imagination soar and engage in discussions about the stories.
Reading aloud to your child is not just a fun bonding activity, but it is also an essential component in fostering a love for reading and developing crucial life skills.
The love for reading that you instill in your child will serve as a foundation for their future academic, professional, and personal success.
Reading aloud to your child exposes them to new vocabulary and language structures that they may not encounter in everyday conversations.
This exposure helps to build their language skills and comprehension, which in turn leads to better communication abilities.
Also, listening to stories helps children develop empathy and emotional intelligence as they learn to relate to characters and understand different perspectives.
Moreover, reading aloud allows children to explore various topics and genres, helping them discover their interests and passions.
This exposure helps them become well-rounded individuals with a broad understanding of the world around them.
It is also important to remember that reading aloud is not just for young children.
Even older kids and teens can benefit from hearing stories read by their parents!
The rewards of consistently reading aloud to your child will be immeasurable for both of you.
Let Them Choose
Of course, there are some books we will agree or disagree with for our children to read. Those are personal decisions that should be made based on your family’s values.
But, you can still take steps towards allowing your child to pick out books on their own.
Here are some ideas to help you create a paramotor for allowing your child to choose their own books.
- Visit the library or bookstore together: Take your child to a local library or bookstore where they can explore a wide range of books. Let them wander through the shelves and browse different sections to discover what catches their interest.
- Encourage exploration: Allow your child to spend time exploring different genres, themes, and authors. Let them touch and flip through the pages, read the blurbs or summaries, and examine the illustrations. This helps them engage with the books and make a more informed choice.
- Ask open-ended questions: Initiate conversations about the books they come across. Ask questions like, “What do you think this book is about?” or “Why does this book interest you?” This not only encourages critical thinking but also helps you understand their preferences and thought processes.
- Consider their reading level and interests: Take into account your child’s reading level and interests. Look for books that match their age and reading ability, while also aligning with their passions, whether it’s adventure, science, animals, or any other topic that excites them.
- Give them autonomy: Give them the freedom to choose the book they are most drawn to. This empowers them and helps develop their decision-making skills.
- Make it a regular practice: Establish a routine of purchasing or borrowing books together.
Keep in mind the goal is to encourage your child’s love for reading, so make the process enjoyable, engaging, and supportive.
Be a Reading Role Model
You can dive into the wonderful world of reading alongside your children.
Let your children see you reading regularly.
Whether it’s a captivating novel, a newspaper, or even a cookbook, show them that reading is an integral part of your life.
Talk about what you’re reading, share interesting snippets, and ask for their thoughts too. Show genuine excitement and curiosity about books, and let them witness your joy when you discover a new favorite author or finish a great read.
By being a reading role model, you’ll inspire your children to follow in your footsteps.
“A child who reads will be an adult who thinks.” – Unknown
Easy Steps to Create a Reading Routine
Creating a reading routine should be as less complicated as possible.
Keeping it simple and straightforward will make it easier for children young and old to follow along.
We first begin implementing more reading as a part of our nighttime routine, as it was the easiest place to start.
Here are some more suggestions to help create a reading routine.
- Set a consistent reading time or time of day: It can be before bedtime, during breakfast, or any other quiet moment that works for your family.
- Make it a daily habit: Aim to make reading a daily habit. Start with just 10-15 minutes, and gradually increase the duration as your child’s interest and attention span grow. Consistency is key to establishing a routine.
- Have a variety of books available: Keep a selection of books easily accessible in your home. Have a mix of picture books, chapter books, and age-appropriate reading material.
- Take turns reading aloud: Alternate between you and your child reading aloud. This helps to engage them actively in the reading process and develops their reading skills. You can take turns on different pages or even alternate between chapters.
- Discuss the stories: After reading, engage your child in a conversation about the story. Ask open-ended questions, encourage them to share their favorite parts, or predict what might happen next.
- Make it enjoyable: Above all, make reading a fun and enjoyable experience. Use different voices for characters, add sound effects, or use props to bring the story to life. Make it a special time for bonding.
Reduce Unnecessary Screen Time
I know screens can be enticing and convenient, especially when you need to get things done around the house.
But, taking steps to limit their usage can have a tremendous positive impact.
Excessive screen time can hinder social interaction, physical activity, and even their ability to focus.
By reducing screen time, you create space for other meaningful activities like reading, imaginative play, puzzles, board games, and quality family time.
Encourage outdoor play, creative hobbies, and face-to-face interactions. Screens can also disrupt sleep patterns.
Remember, you’re their role model, so leading by example is key.
Show them that there’s a whole world of exploration and learning beyond the screens.
By reducing unnecessary screen time, you’re giving your child the gift of a well-balanced and enriched childhood.
Choosing to focus on real-world connections with each other is something that no screens can replace.
Join Reading Communities
Encouraging your child to join reading communities not only exposes them to a diverse range of books but also helps them to see there’s a world of book lovers of all ages.
It creates a supportive environment that celebrates the joy of reading and encourages a lifelong passion for books.
Here are examples of reading communities your family may enjoy:
Local libraries: Public libraries often have reading programs and clubs for children of various age groups. These programs offer storytelling sessions, book clubs, and interactive activities that promote a love for reading.
Bookstore events: Check with local bookstores for reading events and workshops designed for children. These events may include author readings, book signings, and interactive storytelling sessions.
Online reading communities: Explore online platforms that cater to young readers, such as Goodreads for Kids. Online platforms provide virtual spaces where children can connect with other readers, share book recommendations, and participate in book-related activities.
Community organizations: Keep an eye out for local community organizations that focus on promoting literacy and reading. They may host reading events, book drives, or workshops that your child can participate in.
Bookbanks: Search if there a local book banks in your area. Book banks often promote community reading and may be able to guide you to reading resources in your area.
Help for the Struggling Reader
Sparking a love for reading in older children who are struggling readers can be challenging but not impossible.
Once I nailed down the types of books my son was most interested in, his interest in books increased, and reading slowly became a habit of his own.
Here are some ideas to help:
- Find Engaging Content: Look for books, articles, or reading materials that align with your child’s interests, hobbies, or favorite topics. Choose materials that are at their reading level or slightly below to build confidence and encourage active engagement.
- Provide a Supportive Environment: Create a comfortable and distraction-free reading environment for your child. Ensure they have a quiet space, good lighting, and access to necessary resources like dictionaries or reading aids if needed.
- Break It Down: For struggling readers, break longer texts into smaller, manageable sections. Encourage them to read a few pages or a chapter at a time, and then discuss what they read. This approach can help build reading stamina and prevent overwhelming feelings.
- Provide Audiobooks: Audiobooks can be a valuable tool for struggling readers. Encourage your child to listen to audiobooks while following along with the physical book. This multisensory approach can enhance comprehension and make the reading experience more enjoyable.
- Make it Multisensory: Incorporate multisensory activities to support reading. Encourage your child to draw or create visuals related to the story, act out scenes, or find related videos online. Engaging different senses can enhance understanding and make reading more interactive.
- Seek Support from Professionals: If your child’s reading struggles persist, consider seeking support from professionals such as reading specialists, tutors, or educational therapists. They can provide targeted interventions and strategies tailored to your child’s specific needs.
- Celebrate Progress: Recognize and celebrate your child’s reading progress, no matter how small. Offer praise, rewards, or incentives to motivate and reinforce their efforts. Positive reinforcement can boost their confidence and encourage a positive attitude toward reading.
- Find Real-World Connections: Help your child see how reading connects to their real-life experiences and goals. Explore reading materials related to their hobbies, future aspirations, or career interests. Highlight how reading can provide valuable knowledge and open doors to new opportunities.
Staying Patient While They Learn
As your children embark on the journey of learning to read, it’s important to remember the power of patience.
Learning to read is a gradual process, and each child progresses at their own pace.
There will be moments of frustration, missteps, and challenges along the way, but your patience can make all the difference.
Embrace the small victories, celebrate their progress, and provide a supportive environment where mistakes are seen as stepping stones to growth.
Your unwavering patience will instill confidence, nurture their love for learning, and create a positive association with reading.
YOU MAY ALSO ENJOY:
Memoria Press Supplemental Reading List ( This list includes many children’s classics)