3 Tips For Encouraging Children To Love Books
There are some tips I’ve learned over the years to get kids to love books. Not all work for every child. You have to try them, at different times and see what works for your family. I never thought I’d say this but I think girls like reading, in general, more than boys. Might have to do with my son having ADHD too, but he does not read as much and never has. But I still try. Reading is not only good for education (ie reading a history textbook or biography) but it is a good way to learn. Kids pick up on new vocabulary, grammar, syntax and more. Plus reading can teach them about places they’ve never been and spark interest in new areas. To me, reading a comic book or MAD Magazine isn’t the same as a chapter book. But for some parents, we have to start somewhere. Here is a few ideas we’ve tried and I hope they help your family too. I used to randomly leave a book out somewhere, like the kitchen table or living room floor and say nothing at all and I’d come across the kids picking them up and reading them. I’d just keep walking and pretend I didn’t notice as I smiled on the inside.
1- Shop for new books. Make sure you have lots of books around. Go to the library or bookstore frequently. Garage sales often have used books for really cheap (I’ve seen them about 5 cents each or even free, just to get rid of them). Find topics your child will like. Find books at their reading level. Children that have access to a variety books often read more. An average household of ‘frequent readers’ have almost 150 children’s books in their home. I often buy my children and family member’s children books for their birthday and holidays (as well as a toy present). If kids have their own bookshelves it helps them find books they want.
2- Get audiobooks. We love listening to audiobooks in the car and kids can listen to them on a iPhone or iPad with headphones. There are a lot of e-books on iTunes and Amazon that are free or only 99 cents. If your child has a hard time with reading and spelling out words they can read the book at the same time they are listening to it. This way they are visually tracking the words as they are hearing them pronounced.
3- Give an incentive. There are LOTS of ways to make reading fun and get your kids to love reading!
- My kids have a set bedtime but if they go in their room to read (and nothing else) they can stay up an extra 15 minutes. When they were younger we read together every night. I’d read one book to them and they’d read one book to me. When they are too young to read, read to them. You can even do it at nap time, as a quiet time.
- You can also do crafts relating to books they have read. Search Pinterest for ideas. There are a lot of Dr Seuss ones. You can get ideas from one book and tweak it a little to make it work for a different book.
- When my kids were little we would do a paper chain (like a Christmas garland) with the name of each book they have read added to a ring and we’d see how many books we could read in one month.
- Join a summer reading program (online, at the library or at a bookstore) kids can get points for free books. The amusement park, Magic Mountain has a school year reading program that gives away free tickets that the beginning of summer for grades K-8.
- Help children make their own books. They can write them (or dictate them to you) and draw pictures. You can have the books bound and printed easily.
- Make food or a snack related to the book. Make muffins and read If You Give A Moose A Muffin. or Mary Poppins Lemon Cakes recipe (I found it on Pinterest).
All in all, you have to see what works for your kids. Not all will love reading but some might start reading more than they used to and continue trying. Starting at a young age and encouraging reading for personal fun (and not just school) is a good way to have them reading on road trips and the summer too.