My mom has always been a reader. She has had an enormous library of books for as long as I can remember, and she never fails to have a recommendation for a new book for me to read. While I was staying with her this summer, we were talking about how much she loves having access to so many ebooks now. My brother in law asked her recently how many of the books on her eReader were unread, and her response was….”only the book I’m just starting.” Once she starts a book, she finishes it, and if she buys it or borrows it, she reads it.
I can’t say the same for my library. Like a child whose eyes are bigger than her appetite, I tend to want lots of books but can’t find the time to finish them all. However, my lack of time is not a reflection of how much I love reading. I would constantly be reading a book if I could.
I don’t remember a time when I didn’t love to read. I figured (before I had kids who could read independently) that all kids loved to read. Scratch that. I figured that all people loved to read, and there were simply people who found time to do it and people who did not.
I was shocked when I discovered that a love of reading is not something children are born with. I was shocked when I had to force my kids to read for the 15 minutes required for their homework. Frankly, I was shocked at the idea that I would have to “teach” my kids to love reading.
As I became a more seasoned parent, I began noticing a few trends with my kids and books, and I discovered a few tricks and tips to help kids discover a love for reading.
How to Get Kids Excited About Reading
- Let them see you reading. Model to your kids that reading is pleasurable, relaxing, entertaining….show them it’s something you want to do.
- Make reading entertainment and never label it as a chore or a punishment.
- Keep plenty of books on hand. Whether you stock your shelves with borrowed books from the library, buy new books at the bookstore downtown, or pick up second-hand books at the Used Bookstore, keep fun, age-appropriate books available to everyone in the family.
- Ask for recommendations. Not only can you ask your friends’ opinions on their favorite books, but you can ask at the library for recommendations (I always recommend that kids tell the librarian what some of their favorite books are. She can then make recommendations for similar style and reading levels.
- Try different formats. Some people swear by eReaders because of the convenience and size. Others are traditionalists and want to touch and handle a paper book while reading.
- Make a regular library “date.” Make going to the library a regular thing…and get them their own library card (my kids love that!).
- Start a family book club. Everyone reads the same book and then gathers around to discuss what happened. Kids love sharing details they remember from the books they’ve read.
- Give books as gifts to your kids, and encourage them to give books to their friends.
- Keep a reading log, including the books you’ve read and the time you’ve spent reading. When a child fills up their reading chart, it’s ok to plan a fun reward/incentive. Don’t be afraid to go back to old favorites.
- And last but not least….read aloud together. That’s how my mom started with me, and that’s how I started with my own kids.
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Jodi @ A Mom Having Fun says
I have always had a love for reading, and still do. I was shocked when my oldest did not, and continues to not, have my passion for reading! I honestly don’t get it. haha How can you NOT love reading? We still struggle with having to “make” her do her reading. It’s supposed to be fun! My sister recently recommended a book series her son really liked. He had the same mindset as my daughter, so the fact that this book series changed his whole outlooking on reading is very exciting. We have tried a ton of different genres, but maybe just not a story that spiked that interest.
Sometimes it just takes ONE book! I was so thrilled when T found his perfect book (Percy Jackson, years ago) and he hasn’t stopped reading since!
Kim Row says
I hope every year to find that just right book that will open the door for every child that doesn’t like reading.
MaryJo Tsitouris says
I was shocked that my son hates to read because I, too, am an avid reader. These are great tips, especially the family book club. I think we’ll try it out! Thanks for the tips!
Marti Tabora says
These tips definitely make a difference, I always saw my mom reading and there were always plenty of books available for me and I started to love reading at a young age.
Great list. We do everyone on at the list but not always with thinking about it. In fact, people ask me why my kids love reading so much and I have a hard time putting it into words. Of all of them, reading to them is #1 in my opinion. Even when my son was too little to pay complete attention he would play with his stuffed animals while I read and his sister listened but he was improving his attention span at his own rate. They are both top readers now.
shelly peterson says
My mom, sister and daughter are big readers in my family. Myself and the rest of my kids not so much. my son is 11 and if it’s not something he really wants to read he doesn’t have much interest. so I have to try and keep books around that I know he will like. But the schools have certain books they want read some times and they are not always ones he would choose. Thanks for the tips. I like going to the library and getting him his own card idea.
Cynthia R says
I come from a big family of readers, we all love to read and are book hoarders/book whores, lol. I don’t have kids, but I hope they love to read as much as we do. I like the idea of a family book club!