Fostering Literacy Skills: My Tips for Getting Your Kid to Love Reading

It seems that in recent years, all anyone is concerned with is the ability of children to read at an early age. How many commercials have you seen for baby reading programs? Forcing kids to read is only going to make them hate reading. I truly feel that this is why many adults end up hating to read. I truly feel that adults who love reading began as children who loved reading, and were exposed to it before it became mandatory. Think about it, if your only exposure to books were the ones you had to read in English class, you’d probably hate it too. That’s why it’s SO important to get little ones into reading without forcing it on them.  So here are my tips for getting kids to love books (and maybe spend some more time away from that tablet).

1. Just read to them!  The easiest way to get your children to love reading is to read to them. I’ve been reading to my toddler since

the day she came home from the hospital. Now she will crack open a book and say “mommy, I read to you” and start making up a story.
She’s loved books since she was tiny,  simply because she was exposed so early. 

2. Repeat the same stories… A LOT. By the age of 18 months my kid had I Love You, Stinkyface and Winken, Blinken, and Nod memorized and could repeat them verbatim. Know why? Because I read them to her EVERY NIGHT. Eventually this will help her recognize sight words because she knows the story by heart.

From the day she came home from the hospital until she was around a year old, we read Llama Llama, Red Pajama EVERY NIGHT. She’s 2 now and still remembers all the words.

3. Encourage their curiosity. Kids are inquisitive by nature. If you had a nickel for every time a toddler asked “why?” Elon Musk would be wishing for your paycheck. Instead of getting annoyed with them, help them find out! Take a trip to the library and check out some age-appropriate books on their topic of interest. They get to find out “why” and BONUS: they read it in a book and not on Google. WIN!

4. Lead by example. Kids love imitating us, and not always our most flattering behaviors. So let your little one see you reading a book- like an actual book, not on your device. I can bet they’ll want to get one of their own and come hang out with you.

Those are my tips to foster a lifetime love of reading in your little one. Some kids do have a tough time with attention span, so reading is a little more difficult for them. While these aren’t one size fits all answers, the main moral is to not MAKE your kids read. Get them to enjoy it BEFORE they get stuck reading Little House on the Prairie and never want to read again… 
Until next time!