Recently I was asked how to instill a love of reading in children. My older two have been known to attempt reading books while running through the yard, swinging, or even walking down flights of stairs. They are such voracious readers that I, too, have questioned just how this came about in an effort to model their paths again for youngest. Here are a few of our steps taken along the road to ready readers:
1. Read to them
We always read to our little ones, every night right in between teeth brushing and prayers. [Once I learned how to teach] I worked with the younger ones on letter sounds, pointing out words, using some of the Your Baby Can Read system, and finding the simplest of books for them to begin reading. Once they were reading on their own, our bedtime routine ended- and we found that we missed this time together. So, we finally snuggled up again and I happily began to read through the Little House Series.
2. Surround them with books
Nearly every week you could find me with tots in tow at a library- any library in a 20 mile radius since it’s a commute in every direction. But we also ran other errands, and then participated in story hour, stayed to play, and excitedly hauled home a load of picture books, audiobooks, and the occasional video. Books have always been given to the children as gifts. In fact, our seven-year-old’s one request for Christmas was a bag full of 20 books!
3. Turn off the screens
That TV in the corner? It stays blank nearly all day and I wouldn’t have it any other way. It is so wonderful to be able to hear the children playing together, to be outdoors, to interact and truly live life! Handheld video games stay on top of the fridge…. they can get to them, but they know to ask first and only if they have not had screentime for the day. After screentime has been maxed out, they know that boredom is resolved with work, play, or a good book.
4. Go on book hunts
Finding books that interest them can mean a trip to a different library- or a request (and wait) for books to be transferred from another library in the system. We have done searches on the AR Home Connect site for books that suit their level and topic interests. We also browse our church library, yard sales, consignment sales, and Goodwill. Books are typically only purchased as gifts or, occasionally, to read and donate to the church library.
Please do share in the comments your ideas on how to instill a love for reading in children!