Looking to raise readers? Reading is a large part of our family culture. Here are 5 ways you can create a love of reading in your home.
I have to brag a second, because that’s what Mom’s do, right? My kids are FABULOUS readers, and early readers. We love to read in our family. I think that is the key here: We, as in my whole family, LOVE to read! My kids will often find my husband or I reading a book, or listening to an audiobook. We have prioritized a love of reading as part of our family culture.
Here are 5 ways you can create a love of reading in your home.
1. Include Reading In Your Daily Routine
Before school, quiet time, or right before bed are great for personal reading. We read scriptures together as a family every morning to start the day off right. Our family also reads together every night right before bed. When our kids were younger, part of our bedtime routine included story and scriptures. Whichever kid gets ready for bed first gets to choose the story for the night. Sometimes we read a chapter out of a chapter book, sometimes just a picture book.
Now that our kids are older, we try to do a read aloud story every night while they lay in their beds and fall asleep. We usually choose a chapter book that will be engaging to the older kids, and that includes enough cliff hangers that they will be encouraged to hurry to bed the next night to hear how the story continues!
2. Have Books Accessible
There are places for books in nearly every room in the house. We have a special spot for library books, and then a large bookshelf full of books in the toy room. Toys stay in the toy room instead of in bedrooms. Each bedroom has a book case full of books to be read before bedtime and during nap time. We have started to rotate our books out as well to bring new interest to books that may have been overlooked in the past. We use the rotation system from Libraries of Hope. While this rotation doesn’t include every one of the books we own, it includes a fair bit, and the rest are rotated through our read alouds at night.
3. Read Out Loud With Your Kids
Read alouds are a great time to introduce books that may be above your children’s current reading level. Like I mentioned above, we try to do read alouds every night before bed. We also utilize our time in the car to listen to audio books. This has been so fun for us to all be engaged in the same story and trying to guess what will happen next!
4. Frequently Introduce New Books
Visiting the Library on a weekly basis is standard in our family. I can’t remember the last time we missed a week. I usually check out a range of different picture books for the kids to read and they each choose a number of books equal to their age (the 5 year old gets 5 books). Also, I try to check out a book or two for myself so the kids see me reading too. Lately I have been reading the same books as my grade school kids so we can talk about the books together. This has added a level of excitement as we talk over breakfast about “have you gotten to the part where ______ happens?”
We have been making a concerted effort to fill our home with books that have characters with good moral values. We have loved getting books off of The Good and the Beautiful Book List knowing that these books are squeaky clean. We try to frequent the local thrift stores and buy books off this list as often as we find them, since we all know that building your own personal library can get expensive!
5. Make Reading Fun
This just might be the most important part! We participate in the summer reading programs at our library and at Barnes and Noble. The more incentive to read, the better! The kids also love competing with each other to see just how many minutes they can read. During the school year we look forward to visiting Pizza Hut to turn in the kids’ Book It certificates for their very own free personal pan pizza.
We also use books as a reward. If I get an exceptionally large book haul at the thrift store, the kids can earn books by having extra good behavior, helping around the house, or can present us with a way they have chosen to earn a new book.
Reading is such an important part of life. I am constantly telling my kids that they can learn anything if they can read. The whole world of learning is available to them, as well as a whole new arena of imagination.
How do you encourage your kids to read?