Kids become lifelong readers for all kinds of reasons. Sometimes there's one key book that captures a kid's imagination. Other times, a teacher assigns a great book that sparks a hunger for more big ideas and fine writing. Or a librarian puts the right book in a kid's hands just when they need it. Or kids see parents, caregivers, or siblings read for pleasure.
Here are our best tips for nurturing a love of reading that can last a lifetime:
Read to little kids and big kids.
It's cozy reading to little ones on your lap, cuddling next to you, or falling asleep in bed as you enjoy picture books together. Children will remember the closeness as well as the story. And many kids still enjoy read-alouds
well after they learn to read on their own. They benefit from hearing the rhythm of the language, learning correct pronunciation, asking questions, and getting to relax and just take in the story.
Discover book series.
Count on old favorites.
Pick books about the things your reader loves.
Feed kids funny stories.
Humor is a great pathway to book loving. Some parents wrestle with letting their children read Captain Underpants
, or Diary of a Wimpy Kid
, or other funny books for kids
that feature youngsters getting in trouble. Talk with your kids about the content, but keep in mind that kids eat these books up not because they want to imitate the characters' behavior -- they just enjoy trying it on for size while reading the story.
Mix it up with comics.
Check out ebooks.
Reading digital books can be especially engaging for boys and reluctant readers, and you can download or access many books on an ereader, tablet, or phone, which make them a great choice for car rides, travel, and reading in bed. Find free ebooks at Internet Archive
, Project Gutenberg
, and Open Library
. Or use your library card to check out books using the Libby
Make reading a family value.
Take your kids to the library regularly to choose books and hear story times. Bring them along to browse your local bookstore, hunt for low-cost books at used bookstores or secondhand shops, or look for books placed in Little Free Libraries you may find on the street. Show kids that finding a good book is like a treasure hunt. Set aside time for reading only -- turning off the TV, computer, and cellphone. Read to little ones at bedtime and provide time and space for your kids to read for pleasure in the car (if they don't get carsick!), after homework is done, or on their own before bed. Warning: It could be habit-forming!