Reading is vital for school success. Reading supports language development, critical thinking, teaches children about the world, and does so many other things that are vital for children’s development. In school and in adulthood, reading is one of the main tools to access information. This is why it is so important to help children create strong reading habits early on. Here are some tips to help kids become lifelong readers:
1. Start reading routines early.
Even babies are drawn to books and reading! Reading to your baby, helps familiarize them with language and even basic concepts about print. You can provide babies with soft books or hard books and let them turn the pages to get them interacting with the story. Keep in mind that their interest in the book may only last a few minutes at a time. But even those few minutes interacting with you and the book helps their development! Start a routine of reading together at bed time, nap time, in the morning, etc. Starting a reading routine early on can help your child get into the habit of reading regularly.
2. Show your kids you read too!
Children learn from modeling and are always looking up to what grown-ups do! If your children see you reading, they will probably want to read too–not only because your children want to be like you, but also because you are showing them that reading is important and enjoyable. But what if you are an adult who doesn’t really like to read? Check out this blog How can I read to my Children if I Don’t Really Like Reading?
3. Provide a variety of reading materials.
Keep a wide variety of reading materials around the house to help children become familiar with them–for example, children’s picture books, novels, magazines, newspapers, graphic novels, textbooks, etc. Also, include a variety of topics for reading material like fiction and non-fiction, books about history, science, animals, etc. The more variety in books, the more opportunities your child has to explore their interests.
4. Support their interests.
Let children pick what they want to read and follow their interests. This helps show kids that reading is fun and gives them some independence, too. Follow their interests by giving them opportunities to explore different books related to their interests. Do you notice a theme in the books your child is picking? Ask them about it and introduce them to other books with that same theme. Support their interests even if they pick the same book to read over and over again. It might feel like you have read it a million times, but read it again! Kids love repetition and this repetition is beneficial for their development in reading and other areas. Allowing kids to explore their interests with reading makes reading fun and something that can turn into a hobby.
5. Go to the Library
Taking your children to the library is a great way to encourage life-long reading habits. Libraries have a wide variety of books and can help your children explore their interests. Taking family trips to the library can help build reading into your family routines, and is a great way to spend time together. Going to the library with your children and choosing a book for yourself is also a great way to model reading habits for your children.
6. Use reading incentives.
Incentives can be helpful for motivating your child to read and showing them what they have accomplished. Have your child track their reading by recording how many books they have read in a certain time frame, how many pages they have read, how much time they spend reading a day, etc. Set up a goal and a reward to go along with it. For example, “Each time you read a book you get a sticker on your chart, when you fill the chart you can pick a prize.” Base the goals and incentives on their development and abilities. You can even set up reading challenges to do as a whole family. Check out more tips on reading incentives with this blog Keep Summer Learning Going with a Family Reading Challenge
The most important thing to remember for encouraging lifelong readers is to make reading fun! As parents and educators, we can show children the value of reading and make it interesting to them. If kids are able to find the fun in reading, they will seek out reading more and carry this habit into adulthood.
Text: © Kids In Transition to School 2019
Image: © Simona Pilolla | Dreamstime.com