1) Get thee to the library
Yes, this might just be one more thing on your to-do list. But Rochester’s library has a phenomenal kids section and tons of activities for little ones during the week. Make this a fun family outing and your kids will thank you someday.
2) Don’t leave the library without grabbing a book (or four) for yourself
Keep a running list of books you’re wanting to read or download an app like Goodreads. Anytime you hear about a book on the radio, on a blog, or from a friend, jot down a quick note about it. This way, when you get to the library you always have a couple solid options (which you can reserve ahead of time or even download for free on a Kindle! What a wonderful world we live in). And don’t forget about the nonfiction section for cookbooks, gardening books, travel books, fashion books, and interior design books! Which leads us to #3.
3) Make sure your kids see you reading
Monkey see, monkey do, so surround yourself with fun things to read. I always have magazines on my kitchen table to read at lunchtime when the toddler/infant conversation gets a little dull.
4) Subscribe to a kids’ magazine or book club
We have done Highlights for Kids, Babybug, and Ladybug, and we always make a big deal about them each time they come in the mail. The kids get so excited and I like to hold them over their heads as bribes, i.e. “if you don’t _____ you won’t get to read the new magazine that came in the mail today!”
5) Subscribe to your own magazine or book club
Getting your own beloved magazine in the mail is an invitation and a reminder to sit down and enjoy some time to yourself. There are so many new magazines (hello, Magnolia Journal!) that are ultimately way more satisfying than scrolling through Pinterest for the hundredth time. And again, your kids will see that you make time for reading and come to see it as an important (and fun) activity. There are also subscription services for adults’ books, which is another fun way to treat yourself to a monthly book picked just for you.
6) Have a rotation of books in your house
This doesn’t have to be anything fancy. I have several bins stuffed with kids’ books and I just swap out a few every now and then. It’s amazing how excited my kids get to see their old books return, and inevitably someone will exclaim, “I was just LOOKING for this one!” That said,
7) Only display a few books at a time
This seems to work best for my kids who often get overwhelmed and disinterested with piles of books lying everywhere. By just highlighting a few at a time, kids are more likely to spend time looking each one over. It’s also easier to clean at the end of the day. Win!
8) Encourage books before screen time
We just got back from vacation and I noticed an adorably well-behaved family whose kids were all reading instead of spending time on electronics. Their rule? Before they picked up their device, even on vacation, they had to read for an hour. This might be easiest if you:
9) Let your kids read what they want
Research has shown that the best way to keep kids interested in reading is to just let them choose what they’re interested in. Whether that means they only want to read graphic novels or superhero stories or they’re obsessed with books about fairies, whatever keeps them engaged is going to give them the biggest payoff. So just go with it!
10) Read aloud to your kids every night before bed
Dude, I hear you. You’re tired and you’ve done the bedtime things and you’ve fought the good fight and you just want to shut the door and say good-night so you can get back to your jar of Nutella. But reading aloud to your kids, even after they’ve learned to read for themselves, is one of the best ways to instill a love of reading and bring all the warm fuzzies before bedtime. It’s also one of the best proven methods for adults and little ones to calm down and fall asleep easier. Another win!
What about your family? How do you encourage a love of reading amongst your little ones? Let’s share the book love!