Some children are born loving books, reading, and anything having to do with literature. Then there are children who’d rather climb trees, ride a bike, and run around the house, anything but sit down and read a book. Talk about torture! I mean really, requiring an active child to sit and read? So how do you develop a love of reading in these children?
Develop a Love of Reading
1. Make going to the bookstore more entertaining than a trip to the toy store. Never buy toys while your child is around in the toy store, instead purchase a book when you drop by the book store. My parents make a big deal of taking my children to the bookstore when they visit, and it’s a highlight of the trip. All 6 of my children enjoy browsing the store, looking for a good book to take home.
2. Allow children to read popular children’s literature and comics in addition to classic literature. While classical children’s books should certainly be a large part of a child’s reading diet, there’s something to be said for curling up with a fun book on a cool, rainy day. My kids run laughing to me in order to share the latest Garfield or Calvin and Hobbes joke they read. And no, while they enjoyed Calvin’s antics, they never tried to emulate him.
3. Skip school to hold reading days. Pop popcorn, order a pizza, hang around the house in PJ’s, curl up in sleeping bags, and read ALL DAY. These days are wonderful for mother and children alike. I’ve been known to hold a reading day when I had a wonderful book come in that I was dying to read. Everyone curling up in the living room, munching on popcorn, and eating pizza is a delight not to be missed.
4. Find books and magazines about topics your child is interested in. Some kids love fiction, other kids love non-fiction. Keep a variety of books around for your child to pick and choose from and encourage your kids to indulge themselves in their favorite genre or topic.
5. Allow your child to stay up later if and only if they’re reading. An active child who fights reading in the middle of the afternoon when they’re full of energy will sit and read happily in the evenings if it means a later bedtime.
6. Read your child’s favorite book and discuss it with them. One of the best ways to show a child how important reading is to you is to take the time to read their favorite book. Children love being able to chat about their favorite character and scene, knowing you understand exactly what they’re talking about.
7. Keep reading books easy. This is hard when kids are first reading because we want to push them forward, but easy makes little kids happy. It’s one of the advantages comic books have over regular chapter or picture books. There are fewer words for a child to decode, and they can understand the plot and the jokes even with a lower reading level.
8. Encourage picture books if it makes your child happy. One of my regrets with my oldest child was I tried to push him into early chapter books when he just wanted to read picture books. Picture books are written for adults to read to children. So picture books use more difficult words than easy chapter books, making them an excellent method of increasing a child’s reading skills.
9. Join every reading event available. Local libraries and stores often hold summer reading challenges to encourage children to read. Join every one of these events you can. My children have taken up the challenges and striven to read more than they normally would in the hopes of receiving a reward or winning the challenge.
There are many ways to develop a love of reading in your child. Some are easy, while others require some planning to implement.