If you’re wondering how to get your child to love reading so that they develop a lifelong reading passion and habit, here are a few suggestions. Of course, we all know the benefits of reading are plentiful, but that’s certainly not enough to make our children want to read. Instead, we need to build it into our daily lives and make it an enjoyable experience.
Read every day.
Read every day—without fail. Without positioning reading as a chore, make reading part of your daily routine. Make it as automatic as brushing your teeth, so that even on busy days with unexpected interruptions, you still take some quiet time to read for a few minutes. Also build in extra reading time occasionally to make it even more special and fun. For example, you could have a picnic, and read outside on a sunny day.
Create a reading ritual.
In addition to making reading part of your daily routine, you can also create some special rituals or traditions around reading. You might have a special cozy place where you and your child read together, or you might build books into some of your holiday traditions. Reading a holiday-themed book the night before a special holiday or giving your child a new book each year on their birthday can be a way to make books special and build positive vibes around reading that can last a lifetime.
Let your child choose the books.
Help your child find books that meet their interests and their reading/listening level. Indulge them when they want to reread the same book 100 times. This can be both comforting as well as educational for your child. Young children especially may need to read the same story a few times to really grasp the story and to add new words to their vocabulary.
Make reading fun.
In addition to creating reading rituals and traditions and letting your child choose books that interest them, be sure to make the experience fun! Take the time to really enjoy the books and get into the stories you read with your child. Read with expression. Make funny character voices. Laugh out loud when something funny happens.
Use story time as connection time.
Don’t just plow through a story, shut the book, and move on. Take a moment to discuss what you are reading. This can be a great chance for bonding or for better understanding your child. You can discuss the characters, what they are feeling and doing and how you relate or don’t relate to the story. Share a memory, and ask your child what he or she would do in a particular character’s shoes and what he or she thinks a character will do next. This is also a great way to build empathy.
Give books as gifts.
Give your child a book at holidays or their birthday so they view books as something special and enjoyable. Also, let your child pick out books for others. If you’re purchasing a gift for a child’s friend, try asking your child if there is a book their think their friend would like.