I believe that a love of reading is one of the very best gifts a parent can give to a child. Reading is the key that opens the door to lifelong learning. Sadly many children are not developing a love of reading, and that lack can affect them throughout their entire lifetime.
Here are five ways to encourage a love of reading in your child:
1. Read aloud to your child regularly.
One of the greatest things that you can do to encourage your child to love reading is to read aloud to him. From the time your infant can sit up on your lap, he will enjoy the sound of your voice while you "read" to him and point out the colorful pictures.
As your little one grows, make it a high priority to read aloud daily. Set aside time once or twice a day to read as many books as you have time for. Make reading the activity that your child looks forward to the most!
Even when your children are tweens and teens, many of them will still enjoy read-aloud time. Our family has enjoyed many great chapter books together even as our children entered their teen years.
2. Be sure your child sees you enjoying books.
Children learn best by example. When they see you spending time with a good book, they are more likely to be interested in reading themselves.
Share your enjoyment of reading by briefly discussing the story line of your book--whether historical fiction, biography, or classic literature--and allowing them to ask questions or make comments.You may find that your older children will be interested in reading the same book that you are reading, even if it is more advanced reading material than what they typically read.
3. Surround your child with captivating literature.
Be sure there are always plenty of high-quality books in the house. Visit the library and allow your child to choose some books to read. Place a few good books on the coffee table or the couch and see if your child will be interested enough to pick them up.
If you have a Kindle, your child can find dozens of "old-fashioned" books to read for free. Help him choose a few new books to try!
4. Set aside time for reading.
When you child complains of being bored, don't always hand him an electronic gadget or a new toy. Suggest a book instead!
Some families require a certain amount of reading time each day. This may be a way to incorporate more reading time for a reluctant reader. Why not set aside half an hour or so each evening as "family reading time"?
5. Give books as gifts.
Most children in our country already have plenty of toys, games, and electronics. Encourage more reading by giving books as Christmas, birthday, or "just-because" gifts.
It might be fun to introduce your child to a particular series that you enjoyed at that same age. Then for each special occasion, you could gift your child with another book or two from the series. Imagine how much fun it could be to share your love of a favorite book with your child!