6 Tips for Building a Love for Reading…

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I shared last week, why reading to baby is so important. This week I want to share some tips on how you can get your children to love reading. Working at Head Start I’ve heard many reasons why reading isn’t a priority in homes. I’ve heard things like “there is just no time for reading”, “my child will not sit still for a story”, “my child doesn’t like books, they’d rather be outside playing”, the list goes on and on. But what I tell families struggling to build reading into their routine is simple, read more. I know what you’re thinking…That’s not very helpful. And you’re right. But the tips below will make it more helpful and you will see how simple it can become.

Don’t get me wrong there will always be families who just simply cannot make reading work in their home. These tips are simply guidelines, but ultimately you are the parent and you have to do what works for your family. Something I really stress to families is reading should be fun. If you or your child view reading as a chore, you’ve already lost the battle.

Tips to get your children to love reading:

  1. Snuggle up with a book: All children enjoy a good snuggle.  When you hold them close and look at a book together, they will enjoy the snuggles, hearing your voice and the story. Snuggling to read a book builds feelings of safety, security, confidence, and a love of reading.
    • You can also try different places to read, laying on the floor next to your baby/child, in bed, on a favorite chair, or even at the park. Get creative.
    • Even when your children are older they still love to hear you read to them. It is a great way to spend some quality time and strengthen your relationship.
  2. Choose the right book: For babies, they like books with bright bold or high contrast pictures because they can see them and it will grab their attention. Children also love repetition, how many times have you heard them say, “read it again?” Keep cycling through the books they love, but be sure to grab new books too. You can create a larger repertoire of books, and it will help them learn to try new books.
    • For babies books made of cloth, soft plastic, or board books are great. These books are much sturdier and the pages are easier for baby to handle.
    • Pick some books about things they are really into. If your child loves Star Wars, pick a few Star Wars books to read. But remember to tie in a few books about other things too. Maybe a book about Space, Aliens, etc.
  3. Keep books within reach: Keeping books where they can be reached like in a basket next to the couch, on a bookshelf in their room, or in the car makes them easy to reach, hold, and look at as toys. It will amaze you how often they will pick books up on their own. *Remember babies will probably put the books in their mouth, which is totally ok, and exactly what they are supposed to do, so make sure you only put durable books within their reach (fabric, soft plastic, and board books.)
  4. The right mood: Picking the right time to read can sometimes be tricky. Reading when everyone is happy is more fun and helps fosters a love for reading. But reading when they are sick, tired, or grumpy can be a nice time to snuggle and read a book to help them feel connected and loved.
    • Keep in mind that you don’t need to worry about reading a book all the way through. This is a struggle for my control freak nature, but making them sit through a book they don’t like, aren’t interested in, or generally hate will not make them want to read, it tends to make reading feel more like a chore and can take away that loving feeling. When they lose interest in a book, try a different book or something completely different.
  5. Not just at bedtime: Routines can soothe a baby, and help them learn to predict what will happen next. Reading before bed is a great bedtime routine to get books into your daily life, however, there are lots of other places to stick books.
    • First thing in the morning- Babies are more attentive and engaged when they first wake up making it a great time to read books. And as the children get older reading a book when they first get up gives you a little more time in that nice warm bed you’re reluctant to get out of.
    • The backseat of the car- this can be physical books, audiobooks, or story podcasts. And as they get older you can ask them to read to you. I had a friend a while back whose daughters loved to read to her when they were driving on long trips.
    • While waiting- keeping books in your diaper bag or purse will give you something to do when you get stuck in a long line, in a waiting room, or at a restaurant together.
    • After dinner- who says you have to wait until bedtime to read? My husband doesn’t get much time with our son, so after dinner, I usually clean up and they will read a few books together. It is a great way for them to get reconnected after being apart for the whole day. Plus, it gives me a mommy break, even if it’s just to do the dishes.
    • Naptime and bedtime- One piece of advice my pediatrician gave me early on because M was not a great sleeper, was pick two naptimes and do the same routine that you do for bedtime. We read a few books to help settle down and get us ready for naptime and we follow the same routine for bedtime.
  6. Make it fun: The most important tip is to make reading fun. If you make it a chore it takes the enjoyment out of it. The enjoyment is the part you want to foster to keep them engaged and help them build that love for reading. You want your child to see that reading is an enjoyable, fun time to connect, a time to laugh and talk together. To help make it fun try letting them:
    • Pick to book
    • Hold the book
    • See you enjoying books yourself
    • Read and re-read their favorite books
    • Quit books they don’t like
    • Turn the pages
    • Ask questions about the story
    • Retell the story
    • Let them move around while you read (especially for toddlers)

Reading is an essential skill for children to learn. Reading aloud helps children in many ways. In fact, research suggests reading earlier to children will help them learn more words by the age of 2, do better on standardized tests, teaches them about communication, builds listening, memory, and vocabulary skills, and gives children information about the world around them. Even though reading is so important sometimes it can be hard to fit it into your schedule or even know where and how to start with your child. I hope these tips will help make reading a larger part of your family.

What are some tips and tricks you use to get more reading done in your home? What is your favorite tip or a tip you’re going to try with your family? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

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43 thoughts on “6 Tips for Building a Love for Reading…

  1. Expedition Motherhood says:

    These are fantastic tips! I have two kids that LOVE to read and one that I have yet to convert. She will get there in due time I am sure. Her biggest struggle is maintaining interest and of course I want her to enjoy the ENTIRE book, not just snippets. However, I am learning that the most important thing is that she is just reading. Whether she reads 2 pages of 10 books or one all the way through doesn’t matter quite as much right now.

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    • So, I'm a Mom Now... says:

      This is my biggest struggle too and M is only 3 months. When I read to him and he starts to get fussy I’ve tried to soldier on, but it isn’t worth it. You’re right even if she only reads 2 pages it is better than no pages.

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  2. theterrificfive says:

    Picking the right book is definitely an important tip! And what’s funny is that sometimes they’ll like a book now and then they won’t touch it for 6 months and then suddenly they’ll pick it back up.

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  3. milesandellie says:

    My little one is just starting to show interest in us reading to him regularly, even though we have been trying since he was born. We have a few favorites and even if we aren’t getting through the entire story, he loves looking at the pictures and pointing to what he sees. It is amazing seeing how their little minds work. This is a great post!

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  4. AVoguishMomtog says:

    Great tips! My daughter who is now 2.8 yrs old loves books. When she was around 4-5 months old we found her trying to pick up a colorful book by herself and from then on there has been no stopping 😃 I guess for kids less than 2-3 yrs introducing them to activity books with flaps for example would help them gain some interest in reading.

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  5. Shanika @ Orchids + Sweet Tea says:

    Great post! I definitely agree that setting the right mood, choosing the right book, and making it more readily available are great ways to get your child to love reading. My little guy enjoys it a lot. I notice that he especially enjoys books with a lot of photos. I think that I need to use these tips for myself because I hate reading lol. I do it if need be, but I’m more of a visual learner! Thanks so much for sharing!

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  6. ellencfowler says:

    These are things to think about and the earlier the better! I have been guilty of slacking in this department lately, but it is SO important. Having a baby only 7 months, it is easy to brush it to the side or say it can wait until tomorrow. But I am starting tonight! Thank you for the awesome reminder!

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  7. MakeItWithMissy says:

    My kids loved cloth books when they were younger! It’s important to get your kids excited about reading at a young age. I’m thankful that 2 of my 3 kids love to read!

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  8. kikicarlson says:

    My girls love to read. We do a lot of reading for homeschooling and I agree with you in finding the right time to read. Some days they are crabby and we wait till after lunch while other days it is the first thing we do.

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  9. Jhilmil says:

    Totally agree, my son is 3yo, but I am trying every level best to build love of reading for him. We daily read stories and some of the colourful books that interests him.

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  10. simplykymtastic says:

    I work in a high school and my students don’t love reading. I’m in the process of creating a climate of reading in my school. It’s not easy, but I’m loving the challenge. I always read with my 3-year-old niece and take her to the library. Hopefully, she’ll love reading.

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  11. Adine @ Average To Awesome says:

    Great tips! I don’t have children yet, but I really plan on reading a lot to him/her when it happens. My parents also read to me, and I really love reading. I think it’s very good for things like learning capabilities and such, so if there’s anything I can do to help with that, I will certainly do it!

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  12. Stef says:

    These are great tips. I’ve been struggling to get my 5 year old into reading. One thing I’ve found helpful is to use technology on my side. We sometimes go on you tube and listen to someone reading a book we have and we follow along. For whatever reason, she finds some random person reading it on you tube more ingesting than me. But whatever works!

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  13. cupcake1007 says:

    I adore reading with my kids and especially love encouraging them to read on their own as well. Thanks for these tips and especially encouraging young readers. We need to empower kids by opening their eyes to the world of books, imagination, and creativity ❤️

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  14. Nicholas Garrigan says:

    Great post! As an adult who loves to read, I can definitely identify some things you mentioned that my parents did, which probably helped me become a better reader, and kept me reading throughout my years!

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  15. thiscurvylife says:

    I used to love reading. My mom would take me places to read like the park or to the beach then I started choosing reading for my room. I really think these are great suggestions. Kids need to read to build their imagination.

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  16. Jessica says:

    The kids I nanny LOVE reading! I think it really helps when you show that YOU like it as well and get animated when you read to them. It also probably helps that they don’t watch much TV so reading is a solid form of entertainment for them.

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  17. mymommaheart says:

    I love these tips! Also, even if they aren’t ready to sit still, keep reading! Lots of kids can be moving around and still able to listen to the inflection in your voice, rhymes and alliteration, and hear new words. If you have a naturally active baby/toddler, stifling that movement can sometimes make reading time unpleasant for them. Meet them where they are! This is a great list!!

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