Raising Readers: Suggestions for Parents and Teachers

I have two children, both of whom love books. My oldest taught himself to read at a very young age, and is able to read pretty much anything (he’s a big fan of the dictionary, which is also pretty cool). The Toddler Tornado can’t read just yet, but he loves to listen to me read and is constantly looking at books. Recently, I was asked for tips on raising kids who love books. I can only give suggestions based on my limited experience, but here are some things that have worked for my kids:

1. Make reading aloud a daily activity: I love reading to my kids. It’s an excellent bonding experience, as well as a good way to encourage an early love of books. I still read aloud to my oldest, even though he’s perfectly capable of reading his own books. It’s special for my kids, and it’s special for me. They won’t be kids forever; I’ll cherish my memories of reading to them. At the moment, we’re going through Alice: Through the Looking Glass.

2. Do the voices: It’s okay to be silly. Make it fun! If you’re reading about a grumpy lion, for example, give him a gruff, cantankerous voice. My toddler loves books about historical figures. I give them accents. I’m absolutely horrible at doing accents, so there are lots of giggles. Making your child laugh is the best!

3. Take trips to the library: If you’re lucky enough to have a library nearby, take advantage of it! My husband and I take the kids every Saturday. Libraries often have fun activities your kids can participate in as well. Plus, as long as you don’t accrue huge late fees, it’s free fun!

4. Let them choose: It’s easy to pick the books that you are okay reading ad nauseam, since youngsters can get hung up on reading the same thing over and over. However, if you allow your kids to pick their own books, it will spark their interest. When we take a trip to the bookstore, my oldest picks fantasy novels. My toddler chooses adult history books, especially ones about the U.S presidents. We’ve gotten some odd looks over that, but he loves them, so that’s what he gets.

5. Add activities: I think this is the homeschool parent in me making itself known, but if I can add extra fun to reading time, I’m all over that jazz. For example, after reading Don’t Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late by Mo Willems, I found a printout on Pinterest (I love Pinterest!) that had a picture of the pigeon and a speech bubble where kids could add their own “Don’t let the pigeon…”. It was a blast! Eat strawberries after reading The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big, Hungry Bear. Things like that add extra fun.

6. Be an example: Let your kids see you reading! If they grow up seeing reading as a fun activity, they’ll realize that it is. I love this tip, because I can use it as an excuse for the amount of reading I do. It doesn’t happen often, because my toddler doesn’t like holding still for long, but I love the rare occasion when everyone is sitting and reading their own favorite book. It’s a wonderful, cozy feeling.

So, there you have it! How about you? What suggestions do you have for raising readers?

23 thoughts on “Raising Readers: Suggestions for Parents and Teachers

  1. Great article! I also have a toddler at home and we’ve been reading since he was a baby. Sometimes he gets in to a reading mood and passes me book after book for like an hour and a bit. Haha! We’re also talking about homeschooling vs. traditional schooling. How did you find homeschooling through the younger years?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It worked very well for our kids. My oldest is advanced in reading and grammar, so it was good to be able to go at hos pace. Young kids, especially, soak up knowledge and learn through play. I’m happy to give you some websites etc that I used for the pre-k if you like. You can dm me on Twitter.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I read to Ever almost every day. We go to the library at least once a week. He always sees me reading. I let him play with his books too until he eats them. I just normalize reading so he’ll enjoy it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. When do you read aloud chapter books? Or do you just do it while they play? Hannah likes looking at the pictures when we read before bed, but we have been trying hard to read a Psalm once a night. I usually let her look through a picture book while Dad reads aloud the Pslam. Ideas?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I read a chapter or two with them in the morning. Honestly, though: it’s okay if she plays while you read. She’s still hearing you and as she gets older and is able and willing to sit still with you, she’ll want to cuddle and read longer books. If you model a love of reading and learning, she’ll pick up on that.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I love this post. I have two kids, the oldest is a prolific reader, we constantly read books together when she was younger. My youngest is a fantastic reader, we have always had books available, but I didn’t read books with him as often and he only likes to do it when he chooses, yet he is reading well above his age.
    I love that they enjoy reading and are so capable. I think it help sets them up for the future. My sons favourite question is why, so his favourite books are those that answer those questions.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. no-angel loves to pull my books off the shelves and page through them (her fine motor skills for turning pages are excellent!). Some of the pics I use for my month-in-review posts are staged but a lot of them I grab candid after she grabs a book. I must be setting a good example.

    Man, she has OPINIONS when it comes to the books we read her at night. I let her freely get off my lap and go browse her bookshelf to pick out whatever books she wants.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Not to be a downer, but I did all these things and more with my kids and neither one of them grew up to love reading the way I do. I think it’s just like anything, you can show your kids all the wonderful things in life, but ultimately they will grow up and make their own choices😁

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I love this post, you’ve mentioned some great pointers. Hubby and I both read to our girls growing up (now teens) and they have found their passion with manga. As a teaching assistant in a primary school, I understand that not all children will be readers, but if we can show them that books aren’t something to be afraid of, I think that’s half the battle.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. He’s an odd little duck. He knows more about history than most adults. πŸ˜‚
        It was cracking me up yesterday: he was pretending to be Ronald Reagan and said his brother was Orville Wright. They were fighting the Power Rangers, because that makes sense. I was dying. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

        Liked by 1 person

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