6 tips to help your kids fall in love with reading

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My mother, Virginia, loved to read, and as the saying goes: like mother, like daughter. When I was 5, she took me to pick up my first library card – a treasure that led to a lifelong love for reading. Our regular trips to the library were nothing short of adventures.

When I became a mother, I read to my own children from the day they were born. It was such a beautiful bonding moment that became a natural part of who we were as a family.

Reading is the gateway to pleasure, knowledge and adventure. So how can you help your kids fall in love with reading? It’s simple, really. Create a friendly home environment with these simple tips.

read aloud

Start by reading aloud to your babies. Babies love to snuggle up to them and hear their mom’s voice. Besides being a wonderful bonding experience, reading aloud helps even the youngest babies develop strong listening and memory skills.

As your children grow, engage them in the different stories by pausing to ask questions and encouraging them to predict what might happen next.

Read to your children as often as possible and choose from a variety of different genres each time, which not only gives your children a well-rounded experience, but also helps them determine the types of books they would like to read.

Engage your children wholeheartedly in the story by adapting your voice and body language to the different characters in the story. Whisper, giggle, shout, make funny faces and really play the different parts.

Make reading aloud a special bedtime tradition by gathering your kids, getting cozy on the couch, and sharing a new or favorite book.

For inspiration and guidance, read the best-selling “Jim Trelease’s Read-Aloud Handbook”, which you can find on Trelease-On-Reading.com or Amazon.

Take your kids to the library

There’s no better place than your local library to get your kids interested in books.

I highly recommend getting a library card for your children as soon as they reach their age. Spend the afternoon in the children’s section, allowing your child to choose books and read them together. Then help your child choose several books to borrow with their new card.

Introduce yourself to the children’s librarians and help your kids get to know them, because they could very well be your kids’ new best friends. Visit often and take advantage of all the reading events your library has to offer, such as story times, summer reading programs, and seasonal book-based activities.

Model a love for reading

Modeling a love for reading is the best way to inspire a love of reading in your children. Read where your kids are likely to see you reading, whether it’s for fun or to learn a new skill, like how to make a tasty new treat that they’ll wolf down with glee.

Be dramatic. Laugh out loud when you read something funny, and if the passage is kid-friendly, go ahead and share it with your kids.

Fill your house with books

Create a personal library filled with a variety of books. I know books can be expensive, but your library doesn’t have to cost you a fortune. We regularly scoured second-hand bookstores, seasonal library sales and garage sales. If you’re homeschooling, many conventions hold used book sales, and you can always find a great assortment of gently used gems to suit every reader’s taste.

An ideal home library should include both fiction and non-fiction books. Get your kids involved with seasonal picture books and wordless picture books. Include classics such as “Black Beauty” and “Little Women” as well as historical fiction books and biographies. Add books of poetry, fairy tales, fables and mythological tales. The “New True Books Series” will teach your children all about the many amazing people and places around the world.

Create cozy reading nooks

Create irresistibly cozy reading nooks in strategic, child-friendly places in your home, such as a window seat, an alcove in the family room, the open space under a staircase, and, if you have room, a corner in the kitchen.

Throw in a few brightly colored pillows, a beanbag chair, a light blanket or throw, and a basket or two of books, and let the reading begin.

Match books with fun activities

Create positive and enjoyable bonds for your children by pairing books with fun activities. My husband has always been a railway enthusiast, so naturally our children had books and toys about trains from day one, including a wooden train set with some of the iconic train characters from “The Railway Series” such as Thomas the Tank Engine and Percy.

So whenever I read books about trains, our kids listened while holding their trains and playing out the script or moving them along in a little train on the floor nearby.

Or, you can get your kids involved with Anna Grossnickle Hines’ “World’s Greatest Picnic” and allow them to draw the perfect picnic or pack a picnic basket with plastic food.

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Karen Doll is a freelance writer and homeschooling consultant based in the small town of Wassergass, Pennsylvania. She enjoys writing about homeschooling, gardening, food and culture, family life, and the joys of raising chickens. Visit her at AtHomeWithKarenDoll.wordpress.com

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