Getting your child to love reading.

Helping your child(ren) to enjoy reading is one of the most important things you can do as a parent. Reading opens the doors to knowledge and is a pathway to lifelong learning.

Reading should not be presented to children as a chore or a duty. It should be offered as a gift.

—Kate DiCamillo

So how do you inspire a love of reading in your child(ren)?

1. Start reading to your child early.
I started reading to my child from the day he was born. It may seem strange reading to someone who doesn’t understand; however, research has shown that early reading helps stimulate a child’s brain and helps form neural connections.

For babies, start with sensory books as these captivate your child’s attention, and helps his or her language development and social interaction. The “That’s Not My” Series is one of my favourite sensory books for babies. Don’t be afraid to try different voices and show off your acting skills – not only will you build your child’s imagination, but you will also create bonding moments. As your child gets older, opt for books with colourful drawings and pictures of people. ❤

That's not my snowman.
My son has had this for about three years, and he still LOVES to read it.

2. Read to your child often.
The easiest way to do this is by creating a routine. Choose to read either every evening before bed or just after dinner or whatever time suits you. Personally, I do a bedtime routine – my son cannot go to bed without us reading two books every night. We keep up this routine even when we go away on holiday.

Get your child(ren) involved by getting them to pick the books that they want; this way, you know they will concentrate on the story. 🙂

3. Read the book, then watch the movie.
Nothing will prepare you for the exciting look on your child(ren)’s face when they see their book characters come to life! 🙂 Movie experiences help with imagination and will help increase their interest in books.

We love all Julia Donaldson’s books, and you can watch a few of her classics for free on BBC iPlayer. Writing this brings back memories from Christmas – little man and I cuddled up on the sofa watching ‘Stick man’ and ‘Zog’ over and over again.

Julia Donaldson
Our favourite Julia Donaldson books, featuring our bedtime teddy – Gruffalo.

If you’re in the UK, you can watch some of our favourites using the links below:
The Gruffalo
The Gruffalo’s Child
Stick Man

You can also opt to watch stage plays instead of movies. Google is your best friend when it comes to searching for events in your local area.

4. Leave books all over the house.
Yes, I can see some parents rolling their eyes and thinking of the mess that could create.  

“Surrounding kids with books at an early age gets them hooked”

–  Alice Sterling Honig, Ph.D. 

Building a library is not as expensive as people think. I’ve found good quality books in charity shops/charity sales for a pound. The Book People also sell books at lower prices than high street stores. Alternatively, you can ask relatives who have older children to pass down children’s books to you.

Beatrix Potter
Found this gem for £2 at a charity shop.

5. Ask your child(ren) questions.
This only applies when your child(ren) can talk. Ask them to tell you the story using their own words. Ask who their favourite character is; not only does this help with vocabulary, but it also helps to enhance comprehension skills. As a bonus, you’ll get a good laugh. 🙂

Remember, you don’t need to put a timeline on how long you should be reading to your child(ren). As long as they are happy to listen, then keep reading. There are days we’ve read 5 books in one sitting. Do I get tired? Yes, I do; but I don’t stop because cultivating a good reading habit for my child is important to me.

Does your child enjoy reading? Please share tips in the comments on how you got them to love literature.