3 Ways to Encourage Your Child to Read

Raising a successful reader begins with simple steps, like modeling good reading habits for your child and creating a dialogue around books in your household.

Here are three ways to help your child fall in love with reading. Create an unwavering and joyful connection to books with these tips!

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1. To encourage reading widely, provide access to a variety of books

When children see that books are not just for bedtime, but for learning and exploring the world, they’ll start on a journey toward discovering their deep interests.

For younger readers, try placing books from a variety of different genres at eye level on the family bookshelves, so they have easy access and can see at a glance the range of subjects it’s possible to read about.

Older readers whose attention is captivated by visual media may be surprised to learn the worlds they explore on-screen can also be found in books, whether it’s gaming manuals or novels based on films. These book extensions of multimedia offer an alternative way to bring your child to the page.

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2. Follow their interests and let kids choose their own books

More than 90 percent of kids enjoy the books they select themselves. Start by asking your child about their current interests, and guide them toward books with these topics. For example, if they aren’t forming a connection with novels, but are interested in history or science, perhaps they want to try nonfiction or biographies.

Some eyes may glaze over at the mention of “nonfiction,” but there are actually many kid-friendly options in this genre — far from the dry and dusty reference tomes some children (and adults) may equate the category with. Series like Who Would Win, What If You Had, and Fly Guy Presents put the zaniness and fun of fiction into fact-based narration.

Since children are more likely to continue reading a series if they enjoyed the first book, your child will discover a spectrum of topics under the same umbrella “universe” they’ve embraced — topics they might not have chosen to read about otherwise.

3. Make reading fun by creating “together” rituals beyond read-aloud time

There are several benefits of reading aloud with your child. You might consider a “morning book basket” to change up your read-aloud or shared reading routines. Inspired by a popular homeschool concept, a morning book basket is a container (it doesn’t have to be a basket) where children can find a variety of books and activities to rummage through before they begin their day.

With this approach, you may discover your child prefers to read in the morning, or you may want to “bookend” the day with reading to show how much you value the habit. Either way, you’ll be encouraging self-discovery as well as cross-genre reading. The most important thing about creating a morning book basket practice is the time you carve out for you and your child to interact and discuss its contents. Make it a weekend ritual over pancakes!
Lastly, if your child doesn’t take to reading right away, stick with it — and don’t feel guilty.

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