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10 tips for encouraging children to love reading

Published in Family Medicine, Pediatrics Author: Michael Beste,MD Author: Michael Beste, MD
    1. Make reading part of everyday routines. Incorporating books into the naptime and bedtime routines is a great way to help kids unwind and prepare to sleep. Instead of going to the television on a lazy Saturday, start a chapter book that you can read aloud to your children.
    2. Be an example. Letting your children see you reading will go much farther than simply ordering them to read. Read a variety of materials that interest you and allow your child to ask questions about your chosen book or magazine.
    3. Start young. From birth you can introduce the love of books to children. Give them board books that can withstand chewing and curiosity. Provide a variety of books on a wide range of topics as your child grows.
    4. Keep reading fun. Choose reading materials that interest your child to keep them engaged. Allow your child to pick the book. If you are upbeat and enjoying the book your child is more likely to as well.
    5. Read out loud. Research demonstrates that reading aloud builds children’s vocabulary, increases comprehension and helps develop literacy. It also is a wonderful bonding time.
    6. Set books out. Make books readily available throughout the house so reading books is an easy choice during downtime. Also keep books in the vehicle so they can read during the commute or long trips.
    7. Take regular trips to your local public library. Get your child his/her own library card and allow them to pick out their own books. Take advantage of the variety of free programming the library offers. If your library has a children’s area allow time for free play and exploration.
    8. Create incentives. Help your child set a goal of how many books they want to read or encourage them to read a variety of genres. Track their progress. For younger children try a sticker chart. For older children create a BINGO card with different genres for the spaces (Mystery, Historical Fiction, How-to book, Nonfiction, Biography, Poetry, Fantasy, Classic Fiction, ect.). When they accomplish their goal allow them to pick out a special book or choose a family activity.
    9. Listen to audio books while driving. Use time spent in the car to listen to audio books than can be purchased through streaming services, on CD or borrowed from the library. Audio books can be especially helpful for long trips and can be an activity for the entire family.
    10. Read books while waiting. Pack books along when you know you will be waiting at appointments, a siblings sporting event or in the carpool lane.

    “You may have tangible wealth untold, caskets of jewels and coffers of gold. Richer than I you can never be, I had parents who read to me.” - S. Gillilan

    Encouraging Summer Reading

    Summer vacation shouldn’t be a break from healthy habits. Help your kids to read every day to keep up their reading skills. Here are a couple of ways to help:

    • Visit the library as a family.
    • Encourage good habits. Let your kids choose what they want to read.
    • Set a good example. Turn off the TV and your devices so you can read when your child does. Or better yet, read the same book together.