Most children learn to read in kindergarten, but you really have to teach them to love reading long before that. Starting at birth, parents can introduce reading to their children and set them up for success.
1. Read to them.
Read to your kids A LOT. Not just at bedtime, but all day. Read books, read signs, read labels. Show them that we are reading all the time.
2. Let them see you reading.
During a quiet moment, pull out a book or magazine and show them that even adults like to read for enjoyment. As parents, you are their first role models and if they see that you read, they will want to as well.
3. Introduce them to the library. 
The library is an amazing place, almost magical to little kids. Show them how amazing it is that you can go to this huge building filled to the brim with books and pick out a few that you want to borrow. Visit the library together often and maybe get them their own library card. This will refresh your book collection at home and get them excited about visiting the library to get new books.
4. Have books in their room and at their reach.
Little kids love to flip through the pages and make up their own stories. This is a great way to build their imaginations and let them go on "picture walks" without even realizing they are doing it.
5. Have fun when you read.
Don't be that monotone teacher voice we all remember from Charlie Brown. Throw in an accent, overdo the emphasis on the punctuation, be dramatic! It doesn't matter whether you were a theater major or not, the kids will love it. If you make it fun for them to listen, they will want you to keep reading more and more.
6. Let them help you read.
Encourage interaction when you read to your kids. If there is a repetitive phrase or word in a story, encourage them to chime in. Books with predictable text or rhyming words are great, because you can often lead kids to helping you "read" the words on the pages. This will build their confidence and make it a fun experience for everyone.
7. Listen to audio books.
When you are driving, it is obviously not a good idea to be reading books to your kids. You can, however, let a book on cd read to them. It will have their (mostly) undivided attention and can introduce them to new ways to "read" stories.
8. Encourage books as gifts.
If you start the tradition of getting books as presents for holidays and birthdays, children will feel ownership and a sense of pride for their collections. Have people write a note and stick it in the cover so the kids can look back later and remember who gave them the story and why. This will give them wonderful memories and impressions.
9. Variety is key.
Have a variety of reading materials in the house: fiction and nonfiction books, magazines, dictionaries, paperback and hard cover books, picture books and chapter books.

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29 thoughts on “Teach Them to Love Reading, Even Before They Know How

  • April 27, 2017 at 5:52 pm
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    My kids get so excited when I tell them we are going to the library. It’s such a treat for them and it’s funny because we go all the time 🙂

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  • April 27, 2017 at 9:11 pm
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    Reading is so important and necessary. These are practical tips that’ll make a difference. I remember the library helped me.

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    • April 29, 2017 at 11:33 am
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      We love visiting the library and try to go every week.

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  • April 27, 2017 at 9:18 pm
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    Oh yes I began reading to my children as soon as they came out of the womb. Holding them in my arms and rocking them to sleep while reading them a bedtime story or some of my most treasured memories .

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    • April 29, 2017 at 11:33 am
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      It is such a great bedtime routine and a good way to bond too!

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  • April 27, 2017 at 11:10 pm
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    I’ve been meaning to take my kids to the library. We used to go for story time. I think I’m just nervous about losing library books!

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    • April 29, 2017 at 11:34 am
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      We have a bucket exclusively for library books. When we aren’t reading them, they go in that bucket. You can also start out with just a couple of books at a time so it is easier to keep track.

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  • April 28, 2017 at 1:09 am
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    These are great tips! I did many of these and I really do think that it helped my son develop his reading skills.

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  • April 28, 2017 at 1:55 am
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    Try “environmental” reading. That’s where you read the signs along the way. They learn quickly to recognize words they see every day!

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  • April 28, 2017 at 2:25 am
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    I love reading to little ones. Watching their faces and the story comes to life is such a thrill.

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  • April 28, 2017 at 2:49 pm
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    I would love to get some audio books and have them follow along with real books! That would be such a great thing to do in the car!

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    • April 29, 2017 at 11:35 am
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      We just started getting audio books for the car a few months ago and it has been awesome. It helps with reading longer chapter books especially.

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  • April 28, 2017 at 3:24 pm
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    Love all of these tips! My kids are huge fans of reading, although a couple of them are slightly behind on reading we work at it often!

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  • April 29, 2017 at 3:04 am
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    It’s nice to encourage the kids to read more and these are all awesome ways to do that. The library is one of the best sources for books and you don’t have to pay for them! Going there with the kids will be a good choice.

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  • April 29, 2017 at 12:21 pm
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    Unfortunately I don’t have children and I’m not around them much but these are really grat tips! I passed this along to one of my friends 🙂

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  • April 29, 2017 at 12:30 pm
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    What a great post! As a teacher, it brings me such joy to see parents fostering a love of reading in their children. There is only so much we can do in at school–kids need to read at home! Thank you for sharing 🙂

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    • May 20, 2017 at 1:18 am
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      I completely agree! I taught for 7 years and it is so important for families to build on learning at home

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  • April 30, 2017 at 2:06 am
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    All great tips! My Kindergarteners can read and it is amazing to hear that read all our favorite stories I used to read to them.

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  • April 30, 2017 at 3:02 am
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    These are all such great ideas! I really hope my kids both find all of the joy in reading!!

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    • May 20, 2017 at 1:25 am
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      It is great to pass on a love of reading to your kids. I hope they enjoy it too

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  • April 30, 2017 at 3:21 am
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    Have books in their room within reach is such a great tip! We read to our kiddos, but I love the idea of encouraging them even more to do so on their own!

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  • April 30, 2017 at 5:13 pm
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    My mom always made reading a priority for my sister and I, and it’s definitely carried over into our adult lives. We both love to read, and I think it really helped with our writing and vocabulary, too.

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    • May 20, 2017 at 1:28 am
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      Such an amazing gift she gave you! It is amazing what doors reading can open for you

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  • May 1, 2017 at 12:20 am
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    such great tips! My oldest will be in Kindergarten this Fall and we really need to start reading with him more!

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    • May 20, 2017 at 1:21 am
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      Yes, starting before school helps lay the groundwork and you will have less struggle with homework and routines

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  • May 1, 2017 at 2:37 pm
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    Library days with little kids are so fun! I love taking them there to find new books and meet new friends!

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  • May 1, 2017 at 3:35 pm
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    These are awesome tips! I’ve been wanting to bring my son to the story hour at the library, I think he’d love it!

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  • May 3, 2017 at 3:10 am
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    These are great! My kids love to have me read to them and ask me to every single day. It’s so important.

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    • May 20, 2017 at 1:20 am
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      I’m so glad. We read every day as well. It is such a great habit to start early

      Reply

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