Surround your home with books. We set aside the lower shelves in our bookcase for children’s books and stocked one of his cubbies in his bedroom with several more as well. Our collection of books consists of hand-me-downs, gifts, books we’ve bought and whichever library books we’ve borrowed for the week.
Frequent the library. I’m the first to admit that my kid and I don’t always hang out for hours on end at the library; in fact most of the time, we’re in and out of there, with just enough time to drop off last week’s books and pick up our next batch. Still, even bringing him in to the library to do just that helps him realize that there are places that hold books—tons and tons of books—where he can read any book he’d like to get his hands on.
When we have more time, we’ll spend a good chunk of it in the children’s section with my toddler usually tinkering with the toys the library provides. I’ll also get him to sit next to me as I grab a few books off the shelf that we can read together.
Read often yourself. While I do my best to unplug while my toddler is around, I have no problem reading books, magazines, brochures, anything in front of him. I want him to know that reading isn’t just kid stuff, and I’m hoping that by modeling a daily reading habit, he’ll learn that reading is just what people do.
Incorporate reading into your routine. So that you don’t forget to include some reading time during your day, make reading part of your daily routine. Whether it’s reading at bedtime, first thing in the morning or after coming home, having a daily routine will send the message that reading is part of everyday life, just as brushing your teeth and eating dinner. Plus, you’re more likely to remember to read for a few minutes each day.
Make reading fun! When we cajole our kids to read or make a big fuss about it, they may be more put off by reading than actually excited about it. If your kid doesn’t want to read all the time anymore, that’s okay—try to squeeze it in later in a less pressured way. Present reading as something fun and enjoyable, like a special time for the two of you to cuddle together and read a book.
Read non-books. We get a kick out of reading street signs, notices on the wall, words on packaging; just about anything.
I see my kid as a teenager and eventually an adult who loves to read for leisure as much as his parents do. I’m hoping that by instilling an early love for reading, he’ll be on his way to doing just that.
What tactics do you take to instill a love of reading in your kids?