If you want your child to develop a love for reading you should start encouraging it as soon as possible. This is a wonderful gift that keeps on giving well into adulthood and can definitely help your child excel in school and simply learn to love learning on every level.
Not only does reading help in the academic sense but it can be a great way to grow creativity and even provide an escape from life as you get older.
The key to helping your child learn to love reading is to simply grow that love while they are young. It may not be as hard as you think but you should start implementing some of these tips now even if your child is just a baby.
Although your baby and toddler may not actually “read” simply leafing through a book looking at pictures or making up their own story is a great pre-reading skill and can actually help make reading easier for them as they get older.
Here are 5 important tips that you can follow to help develop the love of reading in your young child.
Read To Your Child Everyday
No matter how old your child is, try to get at least 15-20 minutes of reading in everyday. For babies and younger toddlers you may only manage 5 minutes here and there before they lose interest, but any reading is better than no reading.
Pick age appropriate books and for younger children be there are colorful pictures to keep their interest.
Reading can happen at any time during the day from the time your child wakes up to a bedtime story.
Some people say they feel funny or silly reading to a little baby, but there are plenty of benefits to reading to newborns and babies. Reading at soon as your child is born can be a great way to start a routine of simply just making sure you are reading all the time to them.
Make Reading Fun
If you want your child to enjoy books you have to make them interesting and fun.
Try reading in silly or different voices. You can even try using puppets or look for books with matching stuffed animals so your child can play along with the story.
Choose books that you know your child will be interested in. For example if they are really into sharks right now, get some age appropriate books on sharks so they can learn more.
Find books with their favorite characters in it to encourage them to want to read the books. You local library can be a great resource as most of them nowadays have an online catalog where you can find all sorts of books your child would love to read.
Magazines for preschoolers and toddlers are also a great option for making reading fun. Age-appropriate magazines are great ways to read as well as teach new things to your child.
Visit Your Local Library Often
Speaking of your local library, you can help your child to learn reading by frequently visiting your local library and checking out some new books.
For a young kid, a library is just like a big toy store where they can pick all of their favorite books to read. I know that when my kids were toddlers they loved going to the library every week just to see what new books they could find.
You can also check at your library for story times for young kids and babies. During these story times the librarian will read a book or two and even play games or do puppet shows as well. These are loads of fun for young kids and are educational as well.
Build Your Own Home Library
You don’t have to build up some huge library at home right away but over time you can add plenty of books for your child to read from.
You can give books as a gift for birthdays and Christmas which will start to add up over time. Or visit second hand stores or thrift stores for really cheap books.
You’ll also find some places online where you can pick up cheap books for under a $1 or $2 that you can add to your library as well.
Another place to look for inexpensive books is your local library. Most libraries will have books sales at certain times of the year when they will sell books for really cheap. I have been able to find children’s books for $.25 at some library sales.
You can also check out local garage sales to grow your home library as well.
Show Your Child How Much You Love to Read
I know that parents can get busy and a lot of time leisurely reading can fall to the wayside, but if you model a certain behavior your child will pick up on it and you’ll find it is easier to get them to do something if you do it as well.
You don’t have to read everyday in front of them, but keep books around that you can pick up and read at certain times.
Even books like recipe books can be kept around to show your child that you love to read.
When a child grows up with a parent who was often seen reading, the child assumes that reading is just a natural thing for enjoyment. So don’t be afraid to turn the TV or computer off every once in awhile and sit down with a good book instead.
These are really simple things that you can do with your baby and young child that will definitely encourage them to want to read as well as learn to love reading as they get older.
Don’t be afraid to start early and that doing some sort of reading with your child is better than nothing.