Although many parents start the journey of instilling a love of reading in their children with good intentions, their enthusiasm can start to wane if the child doesn’t seem to be embracing the idea. Younger children tend to be enthusiastic readers when they have books available, but as reading in school becomes more of a chore than a favorite pastime, kids may enjoy books less as they grow. With a little extra effort, though, parents can foster a lifelong love of reading in children of all ages. Here are some guidelines for making it happen.
Starting from birth, quality time spent with children and a book can prove valuable. Long before they learn to read themselves, kids enjoy hearing stories while snuggling close to their parents. By the time kindergarten rolls around and they start reading on their own, children can have a solid foundation for loving books. Parents can enhance the experience by adding their kids into the story of the book or acting out all the voices in the tale. They can ask the child to point out different characters or ask them about colors. There are plenty of opportunities to make reading more fun and personal for your children.
Always Have Books Handy
Reading is a lot easier when there are plenty of books around. Whether you are at home, in the car, or at the doctor’s office, having books on hand allows them to become an easy solution any time there is downtime or your child is bored. Add some shelves with plenty of books in your child’s room, or create a cozy reading corner somewhere in your home. Making reading a simple, convenient, and pleasant experience will help kids love it into their teen years.
Limit Screen Time
Yes, books can be read on electronic devices, and yes, there are plenty of educational resources to be found on computer screens. Electronic resources are fine in a pinch. However, nothing beats the tactile experience and imaginative imagery that accompanies the real deal. You can further enhance reading enjoyment by creating a colorful chart that tracks the number of books finished and offers rewards for milestone numbers. Don’t forget about audio books for long trips, too. The kids will have to be quiet to hear the story, and the audio-only format will encourage them to conjure their own pictures.
Be a Role Model
Kids will usually look to their parents for examples of expected behaviors. You can take advantage of that by reading often yourself. Let them see you laughing at a book or loving it so much you don’t want to put it down. You can structure family reading time where everyone has some printed material, even if it is magazines or manuals. Be a role model for your children and show them that even adults love to read in their spare time.
Make Library Trips Exciting
Trips to the library are a fun outing for a lot of families. When you make it into a weekly appointment and get your children their own library cards, it demonstrates to them that books and reading are an important part of daily life. The library habit you build today could be one they carry into adulthood. Plus, many libraries offer additional programs or activities for younger children, from exploration rooms to talks led by local authors. Encourage your child to check out a book on a new topic, and teach them how to properly care for their borrowed reading materials.
Fosteringa love of reading in children is not difficult when you start early and model that behavior yourself. With time, the habit can become an integral part of the child’s routine and personality.