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Seven Simple Tips to Develop a Love of Reading in Your Child

Sep 27, 2017, 10:52 AM

This post is part of the PTA Family Reading Challenge Blog Party Challenge series. View the full post on “My Best Laid Plans.”

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I recently quizzed my kids on some impromptu thoughts on their dad. It was for a gift to him.

Some of their responses were, of course, hilarious. How are you and Dad different? “He has bigger bones!” my son quipped seriously.

Some answers were sweet. What would you change about Dad if you could? “Nothing,” my daughter said firmly. “He’s perfect the way he is.”

They both agreed that if he was a character, it would be one from Star Wars, though they could not agree on which one. My son adamantly stated it was Darth Daddy, while my daughter was sure it was Obiwan Dadobi.

But something very interesting caught my eye. Both of them agreed wholeheartedly that they loved reading with their Dad.

How are you and Dad alike? We both love reading!

How do you know Daddy loves you? He reads to us!

What is your favorite thing to do with Dad? Read!


I hear that we are ‘lucky’ in this respect. Both of our children are voracious readers.

My daughter started reading at the whopping age of two. My son took a little longer. He was more interested in defeating villains and crashing cars into walls. But at about five he, too, developed an insatiable appetite for written words.

Perhaps there is a bit of luck and genetics at work, but there is also some hard work invested in their appetite for books. In the process, I have learned a few things I would like to share with you.

In celebration of this summer’s PTA Family Reading Challenge, here are some very easy and tangible steps you can take to encourage your children to love reading.

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  • DON’T FORCE IT. A love of reading cannot be forced upon a child. In fact, as any parent can tell you, trying to force a child will only draw a battle line in the sand. Instead, try some fun ways to entice your child to pick up a book on his or her own. It’s sort of like getting them to eat broccoli—it’s an acquired taste.
  • IT’S NEVER TOO EARLY. We read to our children from the time they were in the womb. From the day they were born we read to them several times a day. Reading to a child from an early age, even when they cannot understand the words, creates a sense of bonding and togetherness that they will continue to associate with books for the rest of their life.
  • READ OFTEN. Books and reading time have been an integral part of their childhood. We read sporadically throughout the day with them, but my husband and I both read a chapter to each child at night. Read together, and read often. Reading is a learned love.
  • READ IN FRONT OF THEM. Even when my son showed no interest . . . no, especially when my son showed no interest in reading, we made a point to read in front him often. We would all cuddle on the couch and ignore him with our noses buried in books. Then we would purposefully laugh aloud, show each other pictures, and exclaim loudly about the content. It didn’t take very long before his insatiable toddler curiosity had to come see what all the fuss was about.
  • CHOICES, CHOICES, CHOICES. Keep a variety of books, magazines, and other reading materials scattered around the areas where your children play. It’s important to make sure that you choose a variety of materials which might catch your child’s attention. You never know what might nab his or her interest. Go ahead! Max out those library cards and scatter those books around the surfaces of your house. Eventually, something will captivate them. Better yet, take them to the library and let them load up a bag with whatever their hearts desire. It is much easier to get them to read something they chose than something you are nagging them to read.
  • DON’T CRITICIZE. If your child loves comic books, go with it. Or perhaps it is a magazine with their shiny pages that gets their attention. Time to subscribe! Don’t worry so much about what your child is reading, but rather that he/she is reading.  Once they establish a habit, they will eventually broaden their spectrum.
  • LEAD BY EXAMPLE. One of the most important factors in passing on a love of reading to your children is leading by example. Turn off the television, put away the video games, and pull out the books. Read alongside them. Read to them. Laugh aloud. Discuss your newest finds in front of them. But for goodness sake, just read!
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In our home, reading together is one of our greatest, most treasured activities. Reading is a special time of bonding and companionship, not a chore.

There is nothing more satisfying than walking into the room and seeing my family all snuggled down in comfy blankets with their noses buried in a great book, their imaginations exploring some far away land. They are the precious  memories we will all cherish for the rest of our lives!

I hope that these tips get your children on track for a lifetime of reading and that your family, too, can experience the pure  joy of reading together!

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