How to Foster a Lifelong Love of Reading in your Child
Contributing Author: Marley Wertheimer
The power of literacy includes not only competency in reading and writing, but also how children apply these skills to every aspect of their life. There are a variety of ways parents can instill positive feelings about reading in their children at home. These habits should begin as early as infancy, but it’s never too late to start! Check out the following tips to help motivate your child in becoming a passionate reader:
1. Talk to your child about what they like about reading
What do they like to read? Where is their favorite place to curl up with a book? If reading is a chore or a struggle, in what specific areas do they feel challenged? These are all great questions to spark casual conversations regarding why reading may not come easily to your child. Listening to their responses will give you some insight into how you can best support them in reading more often.
2. Read to them!
Reading aloud together is something that should happen daily, especially before bedtime. Even infants can enjoy the sound of your voice, recognize illustrations and help you turn the pages. It helps to choose books that fit the interests of you and your child. When you show enthusiasm for what you’re reading, your child will get excited about reading as well. Even after your child has become a proficient reader, don’t let this positive habit end. Encourage them to read aloud to you, or take turns reading to each other and continue to enjoy the shared reading time.
3. Devote a space in your home to reading
Set aside a quiet room or even a corner to organize a variety of magazines, newspapers and books that are easily accessible to your child. Then, show your child how to use that area to find great books and read! If your child sees that reading is part of your daily routine, it will motivate him or her to do the same.
4. Take a trip to the library
The library is a place where you can really discover your child’s interests and curiosities. Take the time to browse the aisles together, and let them know what stands out to you when picking a book for yourself. Regular trips to the library can be a relaxing part of your week and help you maintain variety in your expanding home library.
5. Prioritize reading before technology time
Rather than browsing your phone when you have a moment to spare, get out a book and read. Whether in a waiting room at the doctor’s office or before bed, your child will see that reading is always an option over using the phone or Internet. Replacing screen time with book time has a variety of educational benefits and greatly improves sleep patterns.
6. Book clubs and contests
Is your child competitive? There are many online tools and summer reading programs that turn reading into a contest. Programs like Accelerated Reader not only measure how much your child is reading, they focus on comprehension by offering book quizzes. Feel free to compete with your own child. See who can read more throughout a given time period – it doesn’t hurt to let them win every once in awhile!
When inspiring your child to read, make sure to associate reading with pleasure rather than homework. If your child is exposed to literature in a positive way, they are more likely to become a successful reader.