Encouraging Your Kids to Love Reading

Encouraging your childrens love of reading

Did you know that January 28th is Family Literacy Day?

Reading has always been a huge part of my life, books were some of my best friends growing up.   
I remember the excitement that would accompany a book fair or a trip to the library and all the possibilities it would offer. 
Would it be Goosebumps or Babysitters Club? 
Or maybe something completely new this time.  
My family didn't have a lot of money and we didn't go on fancy trips, or grand adventures, but I did, immersed in my books I traveled to every corner of the world ( and many other worlds too).  That`s the magic of reading, it can transport or transform you.  It can terrify, uplift, encourage, teach, mystify, hurt and heal you.  To me, the written word is magic.

Ever since I became a mother I have hoped that my children would share my love of reading.  I started reading to my eldest almost as soon as she was born, and I have continued ever since.  
She even has some of our favorites memorized!
Lately we have gotten into chapter books together, and we both look forward to the next installment.  I love that this is something that we have just me and her.  It only takes a few minutes a day but it gives so much back to us.
Now that she's in kindergarten, Sophie is starting to work towards independent reading.  

In fact, the other day she brought home a book from her literacy program and read it to me all by herself, 
I was so proud that I actually teared up.  At her age I know it was mostly memorization, but seeing her taking these first steps is so amazing to me.

My second daughter has an advantage in that not only do me and daddy read to her, her oldest sister also loves to as well.  Its a daily occurrence to see them sitting in their play tent , looking at picture books and creating their own stories from them.  
Now that Vanessa is starting to be more vocal, she`s started reading her "baby brudder", it brings me so much happiness to see them sharing those moments.

story-book train tracks

I've put a lot of thought into ways that I can encourage my children to love reading and I want to share some of them,

Make books accessible to them

We have a large bookshelf in our living room and two smaller ones in the playroom and bedroom.  The books in the playroom tend to get played with a lot ( they make great train tracks apparently) but the books in the bedroom and living room, where we spend more of our quieter times, get read a lot more.  So I make a habit of switching them out every now and then.

Have books for different age levels and read them all to all your children

We have books geared towards babies that have just one or two words that associate with the pictures, and chapter books aimed at preteens.  Now that Sophia is working on independent reading we are bringing out the baby books a lot more as it helps her confidence to be able to identify the pictures if she runs into trouble sounding out the letters.  The harder books, we read together as a family.

Encourage your children to read to each other
Story time shouldn't have to wait for mommy and daddy, teach kid to make their own stories from the pictures they see.  I love listening to the stories my girls make up

Let them see you reading
This is so crucial, monkey see monkey do right? Not just their books, but your own.  When your children see you reading they want to read as well.  

Refer to stories you've read together in your day to day activities

Is your child going through something? Potty training, starting school, learning ballet, having a cold, getting a new sibling, there's books out there that associate with every single milestone your child will face.  Reading these books and then talking about them can help your child(ren) to be more comfortable in a new situation. Sometimes even just a quote or snippet from a favorite can make your child smile.  I cant tell you how many times I've sung 
"Ill love you forever, Ill like you for always, as long as I'm living, my baby you'll be"

Make reading an all day activity

My kids love their bedtime stories, but we also like to share a story as a way to wind down after picking Sophia up from school.  Vanessa likes to be read stories while she eats lunch. There's no bad time to read to your kids. ( Unless you're driving, or flying a plane or something, those would both be bad times)

Reading isn't just for books

I encourage Sophia to help me in the kitchen and we often read cook books together.  Magazines, greeting cards, cereal boxes and anything else with text can be a mini reading session that works perfectly for young children s attention spans.

Integrate Books into your Traditions
This year for Christmas, instead of having a chocolate advent calendar, we wrapped up 24 Christmas books and unwrapped on every night (Thank you Pinterest).  
Whatever book was unwrapped the night before was the most popular commodity in the house and would be read and reread over the course of the day.  My girls were so excited to read their special books every night that they could barely make it through dinner, it was amazing!

Are you a book lover? Are your children book lovers? How do you encourage reading in your home?

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