As a parent, it’s not always easy to know whether your parenting style will help or hurt your child in the long run. I know we haven’t always been successful in our methods, but the one thing I take pride in is knowing we’ve instilled a love of reading in our kids. As soon as you enter our house, you will notice that we have hundreds of books covering our shelves, floor and just about every nook and cranny. I’m often asked what we’ve done to inspire our kids’ love for books and reading… so here are some of my tips:
- Start young. Read to your kids daily and make it part of your day and bedtime routine. Starting to read to your children early on will have a significant impact on their academic success. It will also create a nurturing relationship between yourself and your kids, which is important for your child’s cognitive, language and social-emotional development.
- Read books with subjects that your kids are interested in. If they’re in a fish phase, purchase books that deal with fish. If they’re into Paw Patrol, head over to your local library and take out a Paw Patrol book. Whatever it is, if they’re into the subject matter, you can bet they will be interested in reading the book over and over again (perhaps too many times for your liking). It’s no wonder that we own more than 20 hockey-themed books.
- Be a role model. Pick up a book and let them see you reading it. It doesn’t even have to be a book. Pick up a magazine or a good ‘ole newspaper. Just model the behaviour you want to see in your kids and it’ll only be a matter of time when you will see them sit down to read or rush towards you with a book in hand.
- Keep books handy all over the house. We have shelves and bins full of books in almost every room of the house, including the bathroom. I found having books handy also helped with potty training and getting our kids to brush their teeth. They sat or brushed and I read. It worked like a charm!
- Don’t pressure your kids to read. If your child appears to be getting anxious or not interested in reading, try a different method. Introduce them to a great online program geared towards teaching your child how to read. Ooka Island may seem like a fun game to your kids, but it’s actually a very educational app that will help your child learn how to read. Whenever my kids ask for some screen time, I tell them they can play Ooka Island. They love it and I don’t mind how long they spend on it. Your child will become a confident reader which will encourage them to read more often and independently. It’s a win-win!
- Take your kids to the library. My local library has a great kids section where there is plenty of books within arms reach for the children. We can read as many books as we want, walk around and explore. On a cold winter’s day, it’s the perfect place to go to with your kids.
What tips would you add that have worked for your family to foster a love for reading or helped your child become a more confident reader?
Disclosure: I received compensation as an Ambassador for Ooka Island. As always, the stories and opinions are my own and I was more than happy to share our experience with this great program. You can read my first post where I wrote more about Ooka Island’s history and the wonderful way the app can help your child learn how to read.