I grew up in love with reading books. To this day, I have at least 1-3 books I am reading at any given time. I hope that my children grow up loving to read too! I created a little list of things we do at home to help my kids love to read. Please add your ideas in the comments – I know this list is by far not exhaustive.
1. Read books that are currently movies
We know our kids are marketed to every day. We see the movie characters on t-shirts, shoes and toys. Take advantage of this marketing and get more excited about the books than the movie and products. Engage your preschooler in conversation about why s/he loves this movie and read the book over and over.
2. Let them pick out books
Even if you are tired of reading that really long (and admit it – annoying!) book, be happy they want to be read to. Let your child take ownership in choosing the book. If you are at the library, discuss the book s/he wants and find it together. And be flexible. Kids do change their mind – let them! Let the book choosing be 100% their idea and they will love it more.
3. Let them have their own library card
This goes right along with the ownership. Preschoolers are generally more excited to check out books when they are using something that is theirs to get them. It will make them feel special and like a “big kid.” Play this up! There is nothing quite as rewarding as making the library a place they love to go to!
4. Create your own stories at home
Get out the crayons and notebook paper. Let your child draw and create a story from his/her imagination. The more your child enjoys using their imagination, the more they will love using it when they read books too. Plus, you will be shocked at how much fun it is to get into your child’s head. There are some funny stories your preschooler can tell!
5. Read with funny voices
I can still hear the giggles from my 3 year old son as I tried to sound like the Lorax. Using funny voices bonds your child to the book, helps it come alive in their world, and really makes for some precious memories! Don’t just get through the book, make it spring to LIFE!
6. Leave books around the house
In other words, make reading always accessible. Show your child how much you love books by always having them within hand’s reach. There are a ton of creative storage solutions for books. I browse Pinterest for hours seeing all of them!
7. Create their own special reading place
I wish I had a bay window I could set up with pillows and blankets. That is my dream. But for now we have a recliner in the living room and my daughter’s books are on the stand next to it. She can curl up there whenever she wants to flip through her favorite books. This is all about creating a positive association with books – making them relaxing and calming for times when they need the quiet time.
8. Cook meals based on the books they love
Few things make books come alive like food! Maybe you are reading Chicka-Chicka-Boom-Boom and you want to drink some coconut milk. Or perhaps you can read a Curious George book and then have bananas for snacks. While you eat your book-inspired snack, talk about the book you just read together. This helps with comprehension.
9. Act out their favorite books
Another way to increase reading comprehension is to help them recall the plot of the book by acting it out with you. Plus, this is also super fun. Dress up like the characters and allow your preschooler to improvise and change the plot to how s/he wanted it to be.
10. Praise their early reading success
As you read together, ask them to read with you out loud. When they recognize sight words and sound out other words, get excited! Make them laugh and enjoy their success.
11. Talk about the book as you read it
Sometimes I just want to get through the book. I read fast and flip from page to page. But it helps the child to enjoy the book if you take your time. Discuss what just happened. Ask “what is going to happen next? Do you think……?” Let your child ask questions and make statements about the story. More time consuming – for sure! – but also way more fun for the child and it helps their creative thinking and problem solving skills.
12. Read with each child one-on-one
This is really hard to do when you have more than one child. But when you make book reading a special time with just you and one child – even if this happens once a week – your child will grow up associating books with that special time with you. S/he will always love this and (hopefully) love to read too!