Last week I was wondering the aisles of Target. I had my twins in the big double cart, and I was concentrating on not taking out an end cap as I navigated through the clearance section. My children were happily looking at books, as an older woman approached. I assumed she was going to ask if my kids were twins, which is a fairly common question we get when we are out. I was getting my patient smile and rehearsed response ready when she said, “It’s nice to see your children reading!” I thanked her and explained my favorite shopping hack of heading to the book section of a store and letting my kids pick out several books to look at while I shop. Then when it is time to leave, we put the books back on the shelf. I have been doing this since my twins could sit in a double cart, and it works great. But this is not the only way I have tried to instill a love of reading in my kids. Here are 4 great ways to raise readers.
Make Books Accessible in Your Home
For children to really love reading, they need to be surrounded by books. Accessibility and variety are key. This means keeping books in a spot where your children can easily get them. Storing books on a low bookshelf, fabric bins on the floor, or even a small stack in your child’s room are all great options. I would also suggest allowing your children to interact with a variety of books. My kids love to pretend to read my old college textbooks with their own made up stories. And don’t worry if you don’t have an extensive library. My favorite way to buy books is second hand at garage sales.
Visit the Library Early and Often
One of my kids’ first regular outings was the local library story time. It was free, developmentally appropriate, and relatively easy to navigate with twin toddlers. This planted the seed of library love. And we still try to get to the library once a week. I always let my kids pick out several books they want to borrow, even if they are the same ones as the previous week. I usually select a few books that my kids haven’t seen to pull out later in the week. The library is such a wealth of resources and activities, so don’t miss out.
Provide Books Only Entertainment
Just like a trip to Target, there are times when my children's only form of entertainment are books. When children have to choose between books, and TV or video games, they may not want books. So that is why sometimes, books are the only option. In addition to the shopping cart, books are our go to entertainment in the car and when waiting at restaurants. In fact, I keep a special bin of “car only” books so there is always something fresh to read when traveling.
Ensure Your Children See Themselves in Their Books
Originally, I started writing children’s books because I couldn’t find a book about preemies for my kids. It’s no surprise that children can lose interest in books that don’t depict themselves in it’s pages. I often turn to books to help my kids deal with a challenge or hardship in their lives. So seek out books that highlight the unique qualities in your little ones.
One of my favorite things to do with my kids is read. We snuggle up on the couch under a big blanket (turning up the A/C if needed), and read stacks of books aloud. I have always had a love of reading, and now my children do as well. Perhaps one of these tips can help spark or renew an interest in books for your family.