Encourage Kids at Any Age to Read

What better way to spend your time with schools closed than with a book?

I am blessed that I was born into family that loved to read. But I was not always the most avid reader as a child. My mother is a librarian and teaches at local middle school back home. She would joke with her friends that the librarian mother has children that hate to read.

As grew older, I find reading a great escape from the hectic word. And a wonderful opportunity to continue to learn and grow as a professional and a human being.

Because of my “late” start to reading, I thought about how I would do and what I am doing with my own boys to teach a love of reading. Here are some basic tips to get started:

Babies:

I can guarantee that your baby will be more interested in eating the book than hearing you read it. THAT IS OK! I remember feeling frustrated that I couldn’t get through one page of Hungry Caterpillar with my oldest. This is what babies do. They are exploring the world. They have no clue what a book is. However, the more you commit to your story time (no matter what that looks like), your child will become used to seeing and hearing books. Hopefully this will create an interest that will grow as he or she gets older.

Toddlers/Preschool: 

This is one of my favorite ages for children’s books. The books are always colorful and always use creative ways to teach the basics (ABCs, Colors, Shapes, Numbers, etc.) One of my youngest favorites right now is a counting to ten book that uses objects and animals common in Arizona. As you count up to 10, each page depicts in great color and detail a common Arizona theme (canyons, prickly pears, cactus, etc.) I find these books are great ways to not only develop a reading habit in your child but also include yourself in the learning process outside of daycare and preschool.

School Age: 

At this point, reading may become part of your child’s normal homework routine. It is easy for reading to move from fun to not so fun when it becomes a requirement. My suggestion is to find ways to still make it fun. If you already have a tradition around reading, keep that up as much as possible. We still read as a family every time before the boys go to bed. Also, invest in bookmarks. Once you child hits chapter books, you are going to want to buy some bookmarks. Barnes & Nobles are great variety for good price (Added bonus I know a librarian so we are never out of stock.)

Teenagers:

The most fun age of children right?! OK maybe not. My boys are not that old yet. But I remember how frustrating it was dealing with my younger sisters at home. Older parent friends of mine joke they are happy when their kids say hello to them in the morning. So let’s try this! Ask them what their favorite fairy tale story is. Then have them read the original version. My mine is Little Mermaid and I will tell you the full version is not as happy as the Disney movie. Connecting with something from childhood may spark an interest in reading or at the very least, create some good meal conversations.

Adult children:

Yes, these still count. I always be my Mother oldest baby. This is the age where I found my way back to reading. Whether adult child is reading or not, here is a great way to get them interested, at least in reading with you. Share a book with them that you are reading. For me, I was reading “Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper” and texted my youngest sister the plot line (a widowed man travels to India to learn more about his wife prior to their marriage.) She fell in love with the plot line and look books just like it. Sometimes it just takes a little nudge to get the reading juices flowing.

Wishing you all the best and upcoming fantastic reading adventures with your kids!