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10 Ways to Teach your Child to Love Reading

Reading has long been established as one of the most important tools of education. If a child cannot read, a child cannot learn… so reading is one of the first things we want to teach our children.

As a young girl, I used to imagine what it would be like to have children someday. I imagined playing with them, giving baths, cooking dinner, and reading books together. It was a desire that I had, from the time I was young, to have that intimate reading time with my babies, and as an adult… that desire only grew stronger. But I wanted to teach my children more than just how to read I wanted them to LOVE reading, too!

I believe that a love for reading is fostered at home, and I know that helping my kids learn to love reading requires effort on my part. It is not something that just happens. From the time my first babies were little, I worked to gather tidbits of information from my parents, my friends, and other seasoned mothers on how they had taught their little ones to love reading. Everyone had suggestions for me, so, armed with their advice, and also my own natural motherly instincts, I went right to work.

In my 14 years as a mother, I have compiled a list of tips that have helped me to teach my children not only how to read… but to actually love reading. Thankfully, my efforts have paid off, and sometimes, late at night, when I go to my kids’ bedrooms and find a child huddled underneath their covers with a flashlight and a book, I think maybe they love reading just a little too much!

Read on to learn what reading strategies and have worked in my home to bring that love of books into my children’s hearts:

  • Click through to view tips… 1 of 11
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  • Start Early 2 of 11
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    From the first week of life, we read books to our babies every night before bed. Just one or two it does not take a lot of time. I find that if you start making it part of their bedtime routine, like brushing teeth, or putting on pajamas, it becomes natural for them, and they look forward to it. Bonus: It is special bonding time with your child each and every night!

  • Beginning Reader Resources… 3 of 11
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    I taught each of my children to read before they entered Kindergarten, most of them just after they turned age 4. How did I do it? I used Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, by Siegfried Engelmann, Phyllis Haddox, and Elaine Bruner {Touchstone 1983}. Yes, there were days I wanted to tear my hair out, and we never accomplished it in exactly 100 days… but reading is so important to me that I never regretted doing it. Not once. You can find this paperback book in most big box book stores, or from your large online book sellers.

  • Pick the Right Books… 4 of 11
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    I am still shocked at some of the children's books that I find on the shelves at the local library. There are some really poorly written books books that are way too long winded, and books that are boring! I am very picky about which books I check out to bring home. I do not simply grab a handful off the library shelf. I look through each and every one before I come home. Depending on the age of the child, I choose books that have just a few words per page, on up to a full page. I find ones that have understandable pictures, with fun colors. I choose books that have a PLOT, like they should. I make certain that any book I bring home will grab the attention of my child, and keep him/her interested while I am reading . I do not want them getting bored during story time. Finally, I choose books that have a feel-good ending. I want my children to have happy endings for as long as they can.

  • Become Part of the Story… 5 of 11
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    It is so important while the kids are young for you to be injecting your excitement for books into that reading time. If the story is getting suspenseful, slow down and let the nervous energy build. If it's sad, lower your voice, and be sad. If it's exciting, let that show in how you are reading to your child. If you love to read, so will your child, and you will find that reading becomes more engaging for them.

  • Take Your Time… 6 of 11
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    As you are reading, do not simply ‘read and flip' the page. Let your child's eyes linger on the page, which will help their comprehension of what was just read. Think about it when we read a magazine, we do not flip through the pages looking only at the words at the bottom of the page. We look at the pictures and gather information from what is happening, to help us with the reading. So does your child. Let him or her take their time ingesting the photos on the page, and read slowly. You can even leave words out and let them guess. If there is a picture of cookies and milk on the counter, read cookies, but leave out the milk and let the child fill in the blank, "Bobby quickly ate his cookie and drank his ________." My kids love getting involved, and feeling like they are reading too even when they have not yet learned how.

  • Reading Comprehension: Ask Questions… 7 of 11
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    When you are finished reading, work on the reading comprehension by asking your child about their favorite part of the book, or what they thought of the ending. Ask them what they thought was going to happen. Ask them why the book made them feel certain emotions. These types of questions will help foster better reading comprehension in your child, greatly aid in learning, and help build a successful framework for future book reports and school projects. My twins now often review books for fun on their YouTube channel!

  • Talk About Books… 8 of 11
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    Around the dinner table, involve your new reader in the conversation by bringing up the book that he or she read that day, and let the family ask questions about it. If your family is enthusiastic about that child's reading, it prompts within the child a desire to talk more about in the future. Before long, you will find him or her asking you to read a book in your spare time, instead of the other way around!

  • Be Patient… 9 of 11
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    Having six kids has given me a real appreciation for the idea that different kids learn at different paces. I cannot expect the same thing from the next child that I saw from another. Each child is different. It is so easy to get caught up in the milestones of other parent's children especially when it seems to be a favorite way of the parents comparing their kids. I have learned that it is a much healthier approach for me and for my kids to let them learn at their own pace. I want them to feel like they are succeeding, not failing! So every little baby step earns lots of praise from me, and I never push them further than they are ready to go.

  • Keep Books Around… 10 of 11
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    Have a nearby bookshelf? Fill it with books of different reading with interesting covers and titles; books that will pique your child's interest. Give books to your kids as birthday or Christmas gifts. Give them to your kids as rewards. Let them know that you value books, and they will too.

  • Set an Example… 11 of 11
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    Any chance I get, I will grab a book, or a magazine, and sit down to read. I think it is great if, instead of always using my i-reader, my kids actually see me holding a BOOK in my hands. I want them to know that I love to read, and it is important to me to generate that example for them. Wait for that rainy day, curl up in your favorite blankie, sip on hot chocolate, grab a great book… and watch your children grow to do the same.

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