So you want to raise a bookworm?
1. Get a head start and start reading with them before they even exit the womb.
It’s never too early to start reading to your little one.
2. Don’t limit reading aloud to bedtime.
Instead of ending the day with a book, start it with one! For smaller kids, reading is also a great way to transition to nap time and it can help older kids unwind after school.
3. Let them see you reading.
Kids tend to model behavior. The only thing better than telling your kids reading rules, is showing them. Read the books.
4. Always keep a book or two on hand.
You never know when an opportunity to read will present itself — the waiting room at the doctor, while parked in the school parking lot waiting to pick up a sibling.
5. Avoid using reading as a punishment.
Making your kid read as a form of discipline is a sure way to convince them that reading isn’t fun or even worse — that it sucks.
6. Frequent your local library or bookstore.
Rather than spending the afternoon debating if you need all the things you piled into your cart at Target (of course you do), take your kids to the library and let everyone pick out a book — for free!
7. And attend the book readings.
Book readings aren’t just for adults. Many book stores and libraries hold readings especially for little literature lovers.
8. Gift books.
Instead of toys that are likely to get lost or tossed, give a book to a child celebrating a birthday. Also, gifting and/or donating books to a school or nonprofit that serves children is also a great way to spread a love of reading.
9. Read the same book your kid is reading.
This can mean sitting side by side with a chapter book and taking turns reading aloud or reading the same book as your tween or teen individually and discussing it together later.
10. Create or join a book club.
Grab your friends with kids and start a book club. After you read the book, meet up to discuss what you read and pick your next book! Don’t forget snacks.
11. Teach children to be gentle with books.
Teach your children to handle books with care and to put them away when they’re done.
12. Be animated when reading aloud.
Don’t be afraid to be a little over the top when reading aloud. Act out characters, use your silly voice or even sing stories. Get into it.
13. Make reading relatable by finding books that your children can identify with.
Look for books on topics your kids are interested in or where the characters might have something in common with your children.
14. It’s OK not to finish the book or even a full chapter.
Cliff hangers aren’t just for soap operas and Thursday night dramas. Leave them wanting more! They’ll be eager to find out what happens next.
15. Reward them for reading.
Once upon a time reading meant personal pan pizzas and a rad “Book it” button. Work with your kid to set a reading-related goal and when they reach it, celebrate!
16. Let them author a story of their own.
Grab some paper and art supplies and create your own stories. After you’re done, take turns sharing them.
17. Incorporate books into your holiday traditions.
Pass on a card and write an inscription in a Valentine’s flipbook for your kiddo. For Christmas, instead of a traditional advent calendar, read a book each night.
18. They make great milestone markers too!
Inscribe a book for a birthday, graduation, or the birth of a sibling. Kids will love going back and reading notes from loved ones and sharing memories related to the story.
19. Plan a family project that will require some research.
Think of a fun family project such as starting a vegetable garden or building a tree house, then head to the library and do a little research to help you get started.
20. Ensure that books are easily accessible.
Keep books within reach and don’t be afraid to incorporate them into the decor. Put them low on shelves and in floor bins and mix children’s books in with your more traditional coffee table books.
21. Older siblings make great helpers — let them take the lead.
Reading to their younger siblings gives them a chance to work on their reading and vocabulary. It will also strengthen their bond.
22. Don’t limit reading to traditional sources.
Online articles, magazines, newspapers (yup, the funny paper counts) and even your iPhone are all great places to find great stories beyond actual books. Just be sure they are all coming from a parent-approved source.
23. Select books featuring familiar and loved characters.
If your kid loves Mickey Mouse, look for a book starring Mickey. If your tween is a Star Wars fanatic, allow the force to be with them in the form of a book. They’re more likely to reach for a book starring a character they already know and love.
24. Read the book AND watch the movie.
Make plans to have a family movie night and watch the on-screen version of a favorite classic.