Booklovers are not born. An interest in reading and a delight for stories found within the pages of a book is something that has to be carefully fostered.
For kids who learn an early appreciation for reading, the benefits can be extraordinary. The British Cohort Study, for example, found that reading for pleasure improves both literacy and math skills. A study by the American Academy of Pediatrics shows that reading daily to young children, starting in infancy, can help with language acquisition and literacy skills.
The research proves it… readers have a huge advantage from early on!
Despite all the positive benefits that come from reading to kids, some parents struggle to get their little ones interested in reading.
Here’s five tips to help you teach your budding book worm to love reading from an early age.
- Read Aloud: Many parents do this when their kids are young, but stop as the little ones get older and can read on their own. Kids will enjoy being read to for far longer than you might expect, and the closeness of a shared activity together will leave positive memories in your child for both you and the experience of reading in general. Children will benefit by hearing the rhythm and cadence of language and learn correct pronunciation as they listen to stories being read aloud.
- Cater to your Child’s Interests: It’s hard to keep anyone’s attention on topics that they aren’t interested in, regardless of their age. For kids who are reluctant readers to begin with, books about topics that don’t interest them will only feed their belief that reading as a whole isn’t “for them.” Think about what they are currently obsessed with. Whether it’s cars, ballet, horses, or dinosaurs, there’s books about these and hundreds of other topics waiting to be devoured by your young reader. Use internet searches, as well as help from booksellers and librarians, to find these topic-specific books.
- Find Favorite Authors: When your child expresses appreciation for a particular story, it might be worth exploring other titles by that author. It might be the subject or the narrative voice or the characters that hook your kiddo, but the author probably replicates their recipe for success across multiple titles. Paying attention to authors can help kids become fans not only of reading, but also of the authors themselves!
- Visit the library: Making library visits part of your routine allows your little bookworm a vast array of titles to capture their imagination. Libraries also often have events that cater to readers of all ages, including summer reading programs that encourage and reward young ones for continuing to read during the break.
- Be a Role Model: Kids are way more likely to be interested in reading when they see grown-ups reading. Make reading present in your home and a valuable way to spend time no matter your age.
Want to do more to share the gift of a lifelong love of reading? Our Gift That Gives More helps gets books into the hands of young readers across the United States. You can help a child love to read and succeed!