How to Get Your Child to Love Reading

In this fast-paced, screen-heavy world.

My daughter reading Ten Apples Up On Top! at Finnriver Farm & Cidery (Photo by Arcelia Kent, used with permission)

There are so many benefits to lifelong reading!

The benefits include increased vocabulary, and exposure to diverse ideas, people, and places. Reading increases our abilities to focus and to imagine, which are especially important in this fast-paced, screen-heavy world. Here’s how to get your child to love reading!

Attend library storytimes.

Make going to the library a regular part of your week. There are even storytimes for babies, where you’ll learn new songs to sing to your baby and connect with other families. If the library becomes an integral part of your life, a love of books will follow.

Put books in your daily routine.

Try snuggling together with two books before nap, then three books before bedtime. Emphasize having special time together, rather than actively learning to read words. This calm-down cuddle-time will give you and your little one happy hormones that they’ll associate with reading.

Fill your bookshelf.

Ask your librarian how many books you can check out at a time; it’s probably more than you can carry. A huge variety of books will keep you and your kids interested. When you find an author/illustrator you love, check out all their books! Discover new interests by picking out books at random.

Expect repetition.

As the classic Rosemary Wells’ book says, “Read to your bunny, and your bunny will read to you.” When kids are very little, they love repetition. You might be sick of reading Goodnight Moon AGAIN, but it all feels worth it the first time they turn the pages and proudly recite it back to you.

Talk about books.

Go beyond the words. Stop to ask questions, even before your kid can answer. Tell them what you like and don’t like about a book. Point out the pictures; discuss what the characters are probably feeling and why.

Don’t give up.

If your child is older and doesn’t already love reading, keep trying. Ask a librarian to help you find books on whatever your kid’s into: helicopters, kittens, unicorns. And seek out silly books, like the hilarious Elephant & Piggie books by Mo Willems.

This piece originally appeared in the August 2018 print issue of Raise Vegan Magazine. It is used here with permission.