How to Help Your Kids Love Reading!

Help Your Kids Learn to Love ReadingHelping your kids love reading is of paramount importance. Children who read a lot often experience greater academic success, can better articulate what they feel, have greater compassion, develop a broader sense of the world, and exhibit heightened creativity. Their desire to finish books develops their intrinsic motivation and fuels their curiosity.

While reading is so beneficial, with bright cartoons and electronic toys, too many other things compete for kids’ attention. Here, we share 10 strategies to help your kids learn to love reading.

FOR WEE ONES
Have a weekly library time. I am the youngest daughter of an enlisted soldier.  Growing up, there wasn’t money for extra-curricular activities, so my dad took me to the library every Saturday morning and allowed me to take as much time as I wanted picking out books. In between visits, I feverishly moved through my stack of books so I could return them all and get a whole new stack the next Saturday. Have a weekly library date for your family. Let your kids relish in their time there. Take advantage of summer reading, Paws to Read (a program where kids can read with a visiting therapy dog), and other unique library programs. And as soon as your library allows, sign your child up for a library card.

Issue a challenge. Despite his extensive library, our preschooler was attached to the same books. This summer, we challenged him to read (or, more accurately, hear us read) 100 different books and told him he would get a prize for doing it  We thought it would take all summer. It took just 2 weeks so we repeated the challenge and let him earn two prizes.

Read aloud. Make a commitment to read as much as you can to your child every day. Choose a number you can maintain daily and always fulfill that quota.

Make reading special. Develop a small nook in your child’s bedroom or create a window seat in your home for reading. Let reading be a reward when your child makes good choices (you get an extra book tonight at bedtime!). When you want to get your child a treat, think books.

Read Related: Why It’s Never Too Early to Start Reading to Your Kids

FOR OLDER KIDS
Let reading adjust bedtime. A friend of mine was given a bedside lamp on his eighth birthday and told that from then on, he could stay up past his bedtime as long as he was reading. It made him an avid reader as he wanted to push his bedtime every night (and he was never able to stay awake more than 30 minutes past his bedtime).

Establish a family book club. Choose a chapter book for all of you to read at the same time then discuss it at dinner each night. This works from elementary to high school.

Write to an author. If your child loves someone’s work, have him send an email or letter. The author will likely write back, fueling your child’s passion.

FOR ALL KIDS
Allow reading to yield privileges. Especially in the summer, encourage your child to tackle more daunting reads with a cool reward. For example, reading all of the Ramona books or The Hunger Games results in a trip to the amusement park.

Drop Everything And Read (DEAR) as a family. Many schools encourage at least twenty minutes of DEAR time a day for their students. Rather than zone out in front of the television, read together as a family after dinner each night.

Link books to special occasions. Give books as gifts, but also think of other ways you can incorporate books into holidays or special occasions. Write a book (and illustrate it with family photos) each year for your child’s birthday. In addition to a traditional advent calendar, our son will open one wrapped book a day as we countdown to Christmas this year. Incorporate reading into your celebrations.