Developing a Love of Reading in Your Young Children

Cara homeschooling 3 Comments

Periodically I get asked questions about how my children became lovers of books. Today I wanted to explore a few of the strategies that have worked really well for my family. The key has been that our kids are constantly surrounded by books and see my husband and I read all the time. Kids will mimic what they see.

1) Read all the time. When my kiddos are infants I started by reading to them any moment we were sitting down. Before they could sit up or hold the book, we’d cuddle in a rocking chair with a pile of board books. There are an amazing assortment of books, but here are a few I love to this day:

2)  Utilize the library. As their attention spans increased, we started taking trips to the library. We’d bring home books and books and more books. We moved to picture books. A discovery we made with the help of a librarian are the Iza Trapani books. These are beautifully illustrated with delightful characters. They each start with a well-loved nursery rhyme that the author spins off in delightful directions. Particular favorites are Row, Row, Row Your Boat, How Much is that Doggie in the Window, and Baa, Baa Black Sheep. Of course, I have to sing these, which adds to the fun.

3) Discover the classics together. Books like Make Way for Ducklings, Blueberries for Sal, Madeleine, Curious George, Dr. Seuss. There are a reason these books are still being read. Look for books with great illustrations as they excite your child’s imagination and encourage them to retell the stories by reading the pictures.

4) Engage in the story. Interact with it by using different voices for different characters. Read with lots of inflection. Your kids will pick up on that when they start reading. My kids insist no one else can read the books because I have voices for each character. This adds to the fun of listening.

5) Surround your young children with books. Show them you love to read by example. And keep introducing them to books. The book my twelve year old is inhaling this week is one I’ve offered to her for two years. Now the time is right and she’ll fly through the series in a week. So I’m learning to keep offering and surround them with great books.
6) Keep reading outloud to them. Even when they’re teenagers. Even when you have multiple ages. Find books that all ages can enjoy and read them together. It creates a family culture of shared books. It also creates time each day that you connect outside of food and technology. You might find your kids beg for the read aloud time and one more chapter…even when they’re 16.
How did you introduce children to reading? Any tips to share with us?

Comments 3

  1. I did all those very same things! My kids love books even now as teenagers. We always cuddled in bed just before going to sleep to read. As they got older, they read on their own and then had to tell me a short synopsis of what they read. They still read to calm before sleeping. They have also said if they have trouble sleeping in the middle of the night, they read.

    As a teacher, I think finding a book that is of the child’s interest is key!! I could get on a soapbox here but I won’t. 🙂 Once the child finds a book on their interest whether it be fiction or non, it makes a huge difference!

  2. One of my favorite topics! I love to hear from those w/ more experience than me.
    Here’s a post I did a while back with lots of ideas in the comments.
    While we did better this year than last year, one of my goals for summer is really limit the running around and organized activities we do so we have lots of hours to sit inside and slowly enjoy piles of books. I’m craving that. I think next year I’ll do many of the Five in a Row books w/ my then-4-year-old.

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