When I became pregnant with my first, I knew I wanted to cultivate a love of reading in my child. This partly stemmed from all the studies about how important reading is, and from personal experience in college, when I wished I was a faster reader with all the studying I was doing. At 9 and 11, I can say that both my kids are not only good readers, they also really enjoy it.
Here are some tips to start you on the journey to cultivating your own little reader!
- Start reading to them soon after you get home from the hospital.
I have to admit, it does feel weird to read to a little bundle that you know is not comprehending much yet. The hospital sent me home with a copy of Good Night Moon, and I would read it to my new baby every single day, for the first few months.
When I was up to it, I ordered a few more short stories. Which leads me to my next tip…
- Get some favorites from your childhood.
Have any beloved stories, or remember some illustrations you really liked from books that you read as a kid? I had a few that I remembered very fondly. I ordered them, and got them as hardbound copies because they would not only serve as books for my kids, but as something we could share a love of together.
- Find a good used book store.
While I did order new copies of my childhood favorites for my kids, I realized patronizing used book stores was the best way to go about getting them reading material. The school book sale fundraisers are more than double the price then if you go to a mom-and-pop store, and you’ll be helping the local economy too. My kids love going in and getting a stack of books. Sometimes at only a dollar a piece.
- Make the library a second home.
When your kids are young, the library is one of your best resources. Not only for getting books, there are story hours, kids crafts, and other activities that start their love of the library. We went weekly to pick out new books. Libraries also have awesome book sales, that can cost anywhere from 10 to 25 cents per book. I let my kids fill shopping bags full. When they’re old enough, let them get their own library card too!
- Make giving a book as a present, a tradition.
Try to find a book that is extra special. Something that’s about one of the things they love most. It could even be a book that has activities in it, my youngest likes drawing for example. My kids look forward to the ‘special’ book they’re going to get every birthday.
- Get them a magazine subscription.
There are lots of kid-friendly magazines out there. Many with awesome posters inside, and fun activities. If your child doesn’t seem to love to sit for reading, this is a great way to get them to read in short doses, especially if it’s a topic that they’re crazy about.
- Do a book/movie connection.
The first time I did this was with a little Golden Book of Alice in Wonderland. I gave it to her, we read it together, and then we all watched the movie. We did this with Snow White, Cinderella, and much later, with Charlotte’s Web, to name a few. Reading the book before seeing the movie, ensures that there’s interest in seeing it through, instead of knowing how it ends beforehand.
I really enjoyed reading to, and with, my kids. It’s a bittersweet day when they start to read by themselves. Our weekly trips to our local library have been replaced with trips to their school library during their school day. But we always return during summer vacation. Seeing my kids retreat to their room to read a book, is a gratifying feeling. I hope these tips work for your kids too!