As a Reading Teacher and a mom who has two kiddos that love to read, I get asked all the time, “How do I develop a love of reading in kids?” My answer always is start young.
But if you haven’t started yet, it’s not too late, it’s really never too late.
Now is the perfect time.
Start ‘em Young
My husband and I started reading to our children at a very young age. I remember having a tiny, little baby in my arms reading books. I remember my hubby giving our little ones a bath in their infant tubs, reading books to them. It’s really never to early to start. You want to develop this love of reading as young as possible.
As children get older, it’s important to keep this as a daily occurrence, something that is as familiar as brushing their teeth. It should be a part of their everyday routine, wherever you find is the best time.
Reading in Our Family
In our family reading is a part of bedtime every night. After brushing teeth and putting on pj’s, the kiddos pick out a book or two and we get into the glider or bed and snuggle up to read. Now that my daughter is a reader herself, she enjoys reading to us, but sometimes still prefers for us to read to her. My little guy still naps so when we’re home during the day we read before nap. While he sleeps my daughter has some ‘quiet, rest time’ and is allowed to read in her bed.
If we notice that kids are acting kinda crazy and need some calm, we let them pick out a book and we sit together and read (or have big sis read to little brother). It does wonders for helping them to just relax a bit.
Again any way you see fit to include reading in your family is the right way.
Some things I recommend
- Have lots of books to choose from
- Books kiddos will want to read themselves
- Books kiddos will want you to read to them
The Same Book Over, and Over, and Over
All kids are different, but around 1 or 2 years old- they will usually have an opinion on books. They may want you to read the same books OVER and OVER and OVER. This is perfectly normal. They like knowing what’s going to happen. My son was like this so every night I would let him pick out a book or two and I would pick out a book. This way he was able to hear books he loved, and I was also able to expose him to new ones I thought he would like.
Talking About Books
While reading a lot of kids will want to stop and talk about pictures and this is great. Eventually when they become readers it will be important for them to use pictures as a way to figure out the words. Just make sure it doesn’t go on for too long because then they won’t be able to remember what’s going on in the story.
Once your child is four or five years old it’s also great to talk about their books after reading. Talking about what their favorite part was, who the characters were, and if the story reminded them of anything (something that happened to them or another book that they read) are all great things to discuss, especially with young readers.
The Kids Turn
When they’re beginning readers, let them have a turn to read. In books with a pattern (Like Brown, Bear, Brown Bear) give them a turn to read the page. Or in other books find words or short sentences that they are able to read. This will show them that they ARE readers and will develop this love even more.
It’s NEVER Too Late
Remember it’s never too late to develop good reading habits. I’ve worked with many older students who didn’t start loving reading till 4th or even 5th grade. For these older students, I start by finding out what they’re interested in. You then want to make sure the books that they are picking are at their appropriate level (something their teacher can tell you) because you don’t want them to be too easy or to hard. Your local library is a great resource to try out different books. The librarian would also be able to point your child in the direction of books they might enjoy based on their interests. You can start by encouraging them to read for 20 minutes a night. Even if they’re reluctant in the beginning, trust me it gets easier. Just keep at it, and you will be a reader with great habits in no time