As a kid, I lived for summers. For me, it meant, all books all the time. Lucky for me, I passed my love of reading on to my daughter. One of my favorite rituals is going to the library with her and signing up for the summer reading program.
My daughter has been reading since she was four, and from a young age, she had a huge vocabulary. I credit that to the fact that I was committed from the moment I found out I was pregnant to raise a reader.
Even before I had her, I would read aloud whatever I was reading—newspapers, magazines, recipes—and although I didn’t know this at the time, what I was doing worked.
Maybe you didn’t read to your child from birth, or now you’re in a situation where your child hates reading or thinks it’s boring. It’s not too late to create a love of reading in your child. Here are a few suggestions:
- Listen to audiobooks. Instead of turning on the radio, pop in an audiobook whenever you get in the car. Honestly, this is how I get most of my reading for pleasure done these days. Some of the audiobooks we love are Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor, the Theodore Boone series by John Grisham, the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney, the Junie B. Jones series by Barbara Park and the Dork Diary series by Renee Russell. You can also ask your local librarian to make recommendations of great audiobooks.
- Let your child see you reading.Set an example and let your child see you reading a book sometimes. It doesn’t have to be a particular genre. What’s important is that you are modeling behavior you would like to see in your child. If you really want to get them interested, if they come in to ask a question while you are reading, tell them to hang on because you just have to finish one more page.
- Don’t limit your child to books.Of course most people think of books when it comes to reading, but everything counts. Comic books, graphic novels, video game code manuals, cookbooks, the backs of cereal boxes and instructions for a Disney princess game all count too. Increase your bonding time by having your baby read the directions for a recipe or board game.
- Don’t use reading as a punishment. Reading should be seen as fun, not a chore or something to do to stop bad behavior.
- Read aloud to your child and have her read aloud to you. This is also a great way to bond with your child. When my daughter was younger, we would read short books together, and as she got older, we graduated to short chapter books where we would alternate chapters. Be forewarned that if your child is just learning to read or not the best reader completing a book, even a short one, may take a while, so be patient. The sense of accomplishment is so worth it. Once you’re done, treat yourselves.
What methods have you used to help your child develop a love of reading?