Some ways to raise a future bookworm
Read to your child
A no-brainer, but super important. Read books, magazines, the back of a cereal box, everything. The Reading Is Fundamental Organization notes that not only does reading to your child stimulate their imagination, but it also makes your older children want to improve their reading skills and encourages them to hit the books, too.
Buy age appropriate books
I know that you can’t wait to read “Little Women” to your daughter, but at two, she may not be able to sit through it. Go ahead and buy those copies of Harry Potter, but encourage your child to read with age appropriate books, even if it’s just a board book full of three word sentences and pictures.
Take them to the library
When your children see how many books there are and how accessible they are, they’ll be even more excited to pick up a story or two. I absolutely loved going to the library as a kid, especially when I was let loose in the children’s section and allowed to take home as many as I wanted.
Make a designated time for reading each day
Like rest time, screen time, and snack time, reading should have its own designated time of the day. Maybe it’s after they wake up from a nap, or early in the morning when you’re still cuddling in bed. But a designated time means your kids will look forward to it and know that there won’t be any interruptions or huffy sighs from you because you’re too busy.
Have your child’s books accessible to them
My daughter has a basket in every room full of books, plus bookshelves she can reach herself. When the books are accessible, you’ll find that your child is drawn more to them and will pull them out on their own to read.
Tell stories even without a book
Kids love to hear stories and they love to learn. Make it a point to tell stories even if there’s no book present, like in the car or while you’re making coffee in the morning. They’ll want to pick out books just to keep hearing stories.
Let them choose their own books
I know you have a list of books you want them to read, but let your kids take the lead on this one. Little kids have so little control over their lives that it’s easy for them to feel like they don’t get a say in anything.
Read books in front of them
Actions speak louder than words, right? Put your phone down, turn off the TV, and put away the laptop. Pull out a book when you’re all doing your own thing, and you may find that your kid wants to read too, simply because you’re doing it.
Ask them their opinions on books
Talk to your kids about the books they’ve read. Did they like it? Why not? What was their favorite part? What made the characters good or bad? A book doesn’t have to end once the last page is turned, so keep the conversation going. Maybe you can encourage your child to find a new book they liked better, or one in the same genre if they loved it.
Make reading an experience
Do voices. Point out butterflies, cows, and colors on each page. Pretend you’re on stage performing a play. Reading can be so exciting when you get into your role as narrator, and your kids will be begging for just one more chapter.
Introduce your favorites
Kids love to hear about what you were like when you were younger, so use that to your advantage. Talk to your kids about the books you loved when you were little, and what they meant to you. Especially for kids who are on the fence about reading, this action may propel them to choose the same ones you did because they trust your opinion.
Don’t make reading a chore
Reading should never be a punishment or a chore. That’s a very fast way to make your kid hate books and reading.
Create a space made only for reading
Remember the reading areas in elementary school? Ours were full of twinkle lights, big soft places to sit, blankets, and even tents. Create a reading spot in your home, but make sure it’s reserved only for reading. No tablets or iPods or Netflix allowed in the reading space.
Choose books based on your kids’ interests
This is especially great for reluctant readers, but it helps for even the avid bookworm. If you know your kid is really into space, pick out books about NASA, the planets, or stories featuring a character with the same interest. Nobody wants to read a book if they’re not invested, not even kids.