And so begins a love affair with the library and learning….
Parker just got his first library card a couple weeks ago! And it was love at first sight! For both of us! Reading has always been one of my favorite things to do with the boys. I’ve always read to them, since before they were even born (in the womb!) I also have my own little obsession with children’s books! I still love finding a beautifully illustrated children’s book that is sure to become a favorite. We own A LOT of books, so it never really occurred to me to use the library. However I’m amazed at all the awesome, FREE resources the library has to offer! (I’m going to be writing another post on that soon!) some of them may be a surprise!
I’ve never really had an issue with my kids wanting to read but I think that’s because I started them out reading so young! However if you’d like to foster the love of reading in your own child. The below steps are a sure fire way!
1. It’s never too early to start reading to your kids! Even when they are babies they are picking up so much more information than you could possibly believe. It may seem as if they are not paying attention or they aren’t getting anything from the books that you’re reading but that is far from the truth. Making reading an enjoyable habit early on is the first step to a life long learner! Children will love the interaction they get with you while reading together!
2. Own lots of books! I know books can be expensive. So it may not be feasible to go out and buy a whole bunch of books at one time. But there are always lots of ways to find inexpensive books. Amazon has a lot of sellers that sell amazing kids books for $5 or less. You can always look out for library books sales. Or you may also have a friend or relative who is looking to get rid of their collection because their kids have grown up. You also don’t have to get them all at one time. However make a conscious effort to buy books instead of more toys. When asked for suggestions for the boys birthdays, I always recommend books instead of toys as presents. These are all great ways to get more books in your collection. I have found that my boys get more use out of a book then a toy necessarily and a toy takes up a lot more space and all the little pieces can start to pile up and not even really get played with. However, having a bookshelf where you display all of your books, readily available for your children to see frequently and use, is a good idea! Even if you don’t have a large quantity of books. I recommend having books in several places in your house. So your kids see them often! For instance I have a bookshelf in my living area. I have a box of books in the playroom downstairs. I have books under our nightstand in our bedroom. I have books in our office space. And I have a wall of bookshelves in the boys room. Another good tip is to have a small box of books or a book or two in the bathroom at all times as well. This is also a good potty training tip. If your child’s favorite book is in the bathroom they may be more likely to want to sit down and use the restroom. I recommend board books in the bathroom. Just in case they ever need to be wiped down 😉
3. Next, get a library card and use it! I believe most libraries will allow your child with your permission to get a library card when they are at least one year old. However I think it’s a good idea to wait until your child is like three or four. And actually take them into the library and make it an experience. Parker was excited to have his own library card and now he holds it with pride. A library card of their own can only help to foster their love of reading because it makes them feel special. Once you get your library card I would say to try to go to the library at least once a month. I know everyone’s schedule is busy. So it’s hard to do so but nowadays the libraries make it so easy to pick up and drop off books! Which you can read about in my post about the benefits and resources of a library (which I will be posting soon) Most libraries typically loan out books for a three week period. You will have to check with your particular library. So that being said you could make it a three week habit, of picking up a bundle of books, enjoying them at home and then taking them back and picking up more. We’ve become a little obsessed, to say the least. We frequent the library at least once a week. We always go to story time on Fridays (another great way to encourage reading!) And there is a good chance that we will be at the library at least one other day in the week. We do go through a large portion of books. Which is why we frequent the library so often. It is also super convenient for us because we have a library right across the street. I know that is not the case for everyone. I can just say go as often as you’re able and make it an enjoyable experience for your child!
4. Let them pick the books they want to read! Let them pick some books out for themselves so they feel like they have some say in the situation! However I also think it’s important to go to the library or book store with a game plan, some books that may seem awesome by looking at the cover may be lacking and the opposite may be true, some of the best books don’t have super fun covers. As the old saying goes, don’t judge a book by its cover! Try and curate a selection of books you know your kids will enjoy by looking up books and reading reviews online ahead of time. I’m going to be sharing quite a few of our favorite book lists in the next couple of weeks! Such as books on kindness, books that build good character, books about nature and books that will make your kids laugh! What other book lists would you be interested in?!
5. Make reading fun! Make sure your kids see the enjoyment you get out of it and they will follow! Do funny voices, change your volume and tone, depending on what’s going on in the story! Really get into it and make them realize books, are just as awesome as tv, even more so!
6. Give your kids a challenge with an incentive! We started this year off with a challenge to read 100 new books to bring in the new year! I made up a chart and we kept track of all the books we read. Parker earned a trip to Chuck E. Cheese when he reached his goal! This was before I knew about the library’s incentives too! There is a program called 1000 books before kindergarten and your child can earn a prize when they reach certain milestones, 100 books, 250 books and so on…
7. Try to squeeze in reading into activities you already do. That way it won’t seem like you are adding one more thing to your to do list if you are already short on time. I love reading a book while the boys are soaking in the tub. Of course making a reading habit right before bed time is great too! While your waiting at the doctors or other appointments, read instead of reaching for electronics!
8. And my last tip…Read a book yourself! Kids follow our example, the good and the bad. We can talk until we are blue in the face but kids will always do what we do over doing what we say, any day. Give yourself the same rule, instead of reaching for your phone and scrolling social media at night, find a great book to dive into! Reading is a meditative, calming activity! And is actually really good for your mental health and brain! Becoming a life long learner yourself will encourage your kids to do so as well!! I’m going to be sharing my top fiction and nonfiction(mostly self help and spiritual) book lists for adults as well, sometime soon!!
And remember don’t give up! Keep trying and keep reading, it only takes that one special book that sparks your kids interest to ignite a love of reading!
I’d love to know, what are some of your favorite tips to encourage your kids to read??