This week we celebrate Dr. Seuss Day (or National Read Across America Day), so it is only fitting we discuss growing a love of reading with young children. Both my kids from infancy loved books. We carried them in diaper bags, purses, and bookbags. Wherever we went we were sure to have a toddler-sized board book on hand. And of course, some of our favorites are those written by Dr. Seuss. We have collected quite a few and my 4-year-old still asks for us to read one as her bedtime story almost nightly. J absolutely loves to listen to us read and sometimes tries to read herself. I knew the importance of reading to a child and I wanted to develop a strong love of reading with her. As soon as she was born I read to her daily. As an infant they aren’t going anywhere anyway so I read to her every chance I had. And it was no different with E.
Here are ways we foster and maintain a love of reading with our kiddos.
Six Ways to Foster a Love of Reading
Read to your kids at a young age.
We started reading as soon as they were born. It was very important to me to read early. It is not only good for developing a love for books but also to aid in their language development. For young kids, I love board books. Most are short so you don’t lose a young baby’s attention. Encourage little ones to flip through the pages as they are able.
Make reading a part of your day.
Depending on your child’s attention span, you should spend a minimum of 20 minutes a day reading aloud to your children. And if they are too young to sit for that long, break it up into 5 – 6-minute increments. I like to break up our reading into two to three sessions. However long you decide to read to your child, try to read at least daily.
Take trips to the library.
We started going to the library a little later than I would have liked to with J. She was in awe of how many children’s books were available. And watching her flip through the pages, making up her own story was priceless. Not only does the library get you out of the house but it exposes your child to more than what is available to them at home and allows them to explore new genres.
Encourage to read by setting the example.
Take time to read your own book while around the kids. Let them see you too love to read. With our increase in technology, I found myself reading on my Kindle or iPad. I felt this was not setting the example I wanted to for my kids so I invested in good old fashion paper copy books. Some days J snuggles up next to me with her own book or even ask me to read a little of mine out loud. You see, kids learn from their parents. A child may develop the love of reading on their own but seeing an example with their parents only intensifies that desire to do as they do.
Let them choose a book.
This is something we struggled with early on because let’s be honest to do you really want to read the same book every night before bed? Well, your child does. If your child is young I say read that book until the pages fall out if you have to. The last thing you want is a child who loses their desire to read because they were forced to read something they were not interested in. As your child gets older encourage them to read a book in another genre and explore new books.
Discuss what is happening in the story.
The main reason I love picture books is we can pause with each page and talk about what is happening in the story and visually see the story represented on each page. I love to ask questions and get them talking about the book as well. And whenever possible I relate it to our own lives.
So tell me, how do you encourage your little ones to read?