As parents, we want the best for our children. However, we know that a big part of their future success depends on having a solid learning foundation, and a big part of that is not only having the ability to read but also loving the act of reading.
How do we, as parents, proactively create this love of reading in our children? What can we do to have our children build strong reading habits that will last their lifetime?
Spoiler alert: I do not include a timer and make the kids read for a set time. Our kids pick up books for the sheer love of reading over screen time! Here are my top tips for creating a great reading habit in children.
Tip #1 Make Reading Part Of the Atmosphere in Your Home
This tip is my number one; make it part of your home atmosphere. When a home has books and books are valued your children will learn to have a solid relationship with them.
In fact, I found my daughter reading under a tree the other day. How did this happen? We make reading happen anywhere, and we make it easy to do.
Tip # 2 Easy Access To Good Books
Research has shown that having books in the home indicates your child's future literacy successes.
I prefer investing in great books, so we own them instead of borrowing them. As a result, my kids can become true friends with them and return to their favorites repeatedly.
A library is a good option, but I have to admit parting with a good book makes me sad.
We find many great books at the local library bookshop for 25 cents! Another way to find great books is through garage sales. And I also love thriftbook.com
Sourcing inexpensive books has become a hobby. And the biggest issue is finding ways to organize your ever-growing home library.
Tip #3 Creating a solid reading habit in children starts with you
This tip is a biggie! Kids need to see parents reading. When your children see you being interested in reading, our children pick up on that. Does that mean we always have to have a book in hand? No, of course not. It means we have good, quality reading materials in the home.
Children see their parents enjoying books and other reading materials. The kids pick up on that.
We also need to read to the kids. Research shows that a parent reading aloud to their child is one of the most potent ways to increase literacy and academic success.
We do evening read-aloud with Dad, I read aloud to them for much of our school, and we read many picture books daily with the toddlers. I do so much reading I need a big glass of water! Whew.
Tip #4 Don't worry about the mess.
You can find ways to organize all those beautiful books. Small bookshelves in the kid's bedrooms or playroom. Large bookshelves in the homeschooling area.
Teach kids to return the books when they are finished reading them before getting another out. Book appreciation is much more critical in the long run than having a perfectly ordered home.
Tip #5 for creating a solid reading habit, discussion.
Talk about the books. Make conversing about books a part of your daily life. Ask them about the books they are reading, the characters they like, and their favorite elements.
Talk about the books you've read aloud together. It's fun to make up and have inside jokes and references with your family about books.
As your children grow older, discuss what you've read in the news. It's a great way to introduce them to reading the news for themselves.
All of this discussion makes books become engaging and a way of being social.
Tip #6 Creating the reading habit while in the car
Reading in the car; the car is a great place to read. (That's if you don't get motion sickness) I need silence in the car often and tell the children to bring a book, or they will be bored.
Being in the car is also a great place to talk about the books they are reading and, of course, the best place to turn on a new audiobook! We never turn on music because we are so eager to hear more from the latest book.
Tips # 7 Make reading time a time without screens.
I remember going to a home show and seeing all these newly-built fancy homes. I was amazed that these vast homes with many rooms had nothing except giant screens and sofas. No libraries? No bookshelves? No crafting rooms? This momma couldn't handle it.
We should set up our schedules and home environment so books are not constantly competing with screen time.
Does that mean no screen time? Of course not. It means it has a time and place outside of reading time. Allow children a lot of free time to pick up a book to entertain themselves.
Childhood is the best time for the imagination to flourish, and reading a book allows that creative thinking process to blossom.
Lastly, my top tip!
Solid reading skills begin with a foundation in phonics.
Kids need to have the tools to be able to read if we want them to be readers and enjoy it. So make sure your child has a strong foundation in phonics-the tool to set them up to be able to read anything confidently.
Of course, I recommend our reading program, and using the entire program from start to finish will not only have them reading well. It is also packed full of fun activities making learning more enjoyable.
If you find your child struggling with reading, be sure to read our post about helping them succeed.
What tips do you have for creating a solid reading habit in kids? I would love to hear it!