How to Instill a Love of Reading in your Kids (and maybe find time for yourself as well!)
Guest Blog By Morgan Rose
*I want to add a little caveat before we start because there are going to be some kids who really struggle with reading independently and will ALWAYS struggle with reading independently. Not all these tips will be effective for a child who is facing barriers to their reading abilities. Supporting your child with special needs will be a post for another day!*
Read together, read alone, read where your kids can see you! I cannot stress enough how important this piece of the puzzle is! Your kids want to do what you do, and they know that you get to do all the best stuff. So if the best stuff is reading then they will want to do that to.
Make your family a reading ritual. Maybe every Sunday morning everyone gets up and reads over a pancake breakfast. Maybe story time at night isn’t just mom or dad, but everyone who’s home at the time all snuggled into one bed. Maybe you make a mug of hot chocolate with marshmallows and read together on the first day it snows. There are so many ways to make reading a special time for everyone! In Denmark every Christmas Eve everyone in the family gets a new book and they spend the evening reading together and I LOVE that idea so much. Another way I do this with my students is to go to the library and pick out a book I think they’ll love and leave it on their desk with a sticky note that says “Saw this and thought of you! Hope you enjoy it!” Sometimes just knowing that someone saw it and thought of YOU is such a special thing. Usually even the most reluctant readers will give it a try. Replace desk with bed and you can for sure use this at home!
Let your kids read whatever the fuck they want. Don’t tell them something is too easy or too hard. (If it IS too hard, help them! Let them know they can ask you about words or content they don’t quite understand). Comic books count, graphic novels count, cereal boxes and bill-boards count. Reading is reading is reading. Forcing a child to read something they hate because it seems appropriate for their age/ stage/ level will NOT make them want to read more. Here in Canada we start kids reading super early, but there is actually no research that supports the idea that a child who reads early reads more or better than a child who starts reading later. In fact Finland has one of the highest literacy rates AND highest rates of adults who read for enjoyment and they don’t explicitly teach reading until the age of 7.
*I am not suggesting that you let your 12 year old read explicit romance novels or anything, obviously use your discretion here…*
This is especially easy with babies because they are small and we have SO MANY routines and habits. Pick a time every day to read with them. It could be a board book before every nap and bedtime, or a way to pass the endless feeling times between naps. But try and pick a time and stick with it! Same goes for older kids and adults, put your phone away 30 minutes before bed and read instead. The more you do it the easier it gets!
- Listen to an audiobook in the car
- Plan a library visit once a week
- Follow some bookstagram accounts! I love @everydayreading, @reesesbookclub, @bookriotya.
- Talk to your friends/ partner about books! Pick a book that’s being turned into a movie, read it and then go see it together!
- Quit bad books! There is no shame in putting down a book you’re not enjoying! It’s the author’s fault not yours!
Starting November 1st I’m going to be posting a “book of the month” to the dope moms instagram account. One kids book and one for adults! If you read anything you love or want some book recommendations or have ANY questions about reading and your child please don’t hesitate to reach out!