By: Sheila Razdan, MD, MPH
Now more than ever, reading can be a great way for children to relax and escape to a different world. Here are 10 ways parents can help build and support a child’s love of reading.
How to bring reading into your child’s life
Reading is good for kids. When books are part of the family routine, kids’ language skills grow. Books can also help parents teach important values (/English/healthy-living/emotional-wellness/Building-Resilience/Pages/Books-to Build-Character-Teach-Important-Values.aspx) and understand difficult events in real life. They can read alone, or you can make it a family affair.
Here are some tips to bring a love of reading into your child’s life.
Model good reading behavior.
If kids see you reading, they will be more likely to pick up a book themselves.
Read together before bedtime.
Get quality time together at the end of the day. Reading out loud helps kids bring the words to life. Talk about the story together. Ask questions like, “What do you think will happen next?” You can switch things up some nights and ask your school-age child to read a book to you!
Get a library card.
Most communities offer free library access. Some libraries have reading programs with games and prizes to keep kids busy when school is out. Many also offer contact-free ways to check out books or participate in.
Read what they read.
Follow their interests by keeping up with what your kids read. It makes it more fun and gives you something enjoyable to talk about.
Activities, such as e-book loans and virtual story times.
All reading is good reading.
Let kids know that reading is great no matter what they’re interested in. Anything goes: fiction, biographies, kids magazines, comic books or even reading a cookbook in the kitchen!
Create a reading nook.
A cozy, snuggle-friendly area in your home can be turned into the family “reading zone.” Just add blankets, pillows, a bean bag chair, and a window or lamp!
Read with friends.
A book club with friends can give kids a way to share and learn about different views. If local public health guidelines allow, put on your cloth face coverings and find an open area for a physically distanced meet-up. Kids can talk about a book, their favorite characters, or how they think the book could have ended differently.
Keep books around.
If there’s always a book within reach, kids will be more likely to pick one up and read, even for a few minutes at a time.
Travel with reading material.
Bring books for car rides, for example, or waiting to see a doctor. Books are a great option instead of a tablet or a smartphone.
A gift that keeps giving.
Friends and family can give the gift of books for a birthday or a holiday. Make it personal by asking the gift-giver to write a message inside the book cover. Your child can cherish the book and message from a loved one for years to come.
Keep reading to your child and with your child after they learn how to read. Continuing to read together brings strong, lasting connections throughout their childhood.