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How Can Parents Foster a Love of Reading?

Giving your kids books to read. Great. Making reading and literacy a family activity and habit—even better.

Did you know that November is Family Literacy month? Family literacy is more than just building reading skills at home--  It’s about creating situations, activities and events as a family that foster a love of books and learning. Luckily, there are many creative ways to encourage kids to love books.

When my kids were little we had a nook in our house that was affectionately known as the cuddle corner. This popular corner of our home had a comfy pad to sit on, lots of large, colorful pillows and a huge bucket of books. Sure this is where we sat to read during the day or for bedtime stories, but it was so much more. Sometimes the corner was transformed into a boat (Where the Wild Things Are) or a forest (Salamander Room), sometimes there were drawings taped to the walls to create a scene from a book, and sometimes it was difficult to sit because there were lots of Lego creations that related to the favorite book that week. But always, it was an adventure. I’d like to think that this corner that brought our family together and books to life is what made my kids love books… and learning. 

How do you cultivate a love of books? What are some creative things you do to encourage reading at your house?

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#19 mindy 2011-11-03 17:58
I am a mommy of a toddler. I have been reading to my daughter since before she was born. Collecting books since before we even knew we were able to have kids. I am an avid reader and believe strongly in reading every night with my daughter. We go to the library and talk about the visit as an adventure. We point to pictures including the small details. My daughter finds words everywhere. Although she can not read the words on signs, etc. she is able to connect the environmental print to the alphabet. When she sees a stop sign she will say "abcd.."
#18 Dyanne Griffin 2010-12-03 14:26
We also read at bedtime, my youngest is just starting to read but still loves to be read to. Every night in addition to Mom or Dad reading her a story, her older brother and sister (9 years old) read her a story too. The youngest enjoys hearing the stories (and stretching out bedtime) and the old kids benefit by improving their expression and pronunciation. The youngest also enjoys playing "story time" with her dolls, stuffed animals and even the family dog- she loves being the "librarian", for those books she cannot read yet she does a picture walk- a great way to build her skills.
#17 Hilary 2010-11-24 14:07
We have a second grader and also a 1 year old granddaughter. Our second grader loves the challenge of trying to get the one year old to sit still long enough for her to read a book. She will follow the little one around the house reading to her.
#16 Kara 2010-11-17 20:15
Reading has always been a big focus in our home, aside from reading to the kids (2 & 5) daily during afternoon down time and again at night, we make a weekly trip to the library where the kids get to pick their own books to bring home and read. We also love books on tape, our TAG reading system and the MeeGenius App on our iTouch. Sometimes we do theme weeks or seasonal activities that always include books and reading! They too have a comfy area in the playroom where they sit on their kids sized chairs and read their books.
#15 Michelle 2010-11-17 19:46
As a teacher I understand how important it is to read to your child each and every day. A love for reading starts at home. Reading books is our favorite thing to do in our household. I put out seasonal books each year and rotate books in and out of the family bookshelves.
#14 Michelle 2010-11-17 19:44
My daughter has enjoyed books since the day she was born. I have seasonal books that i put out each year to read. We also switch the books on her shelf every couple of months. We read every night. I enjoy it when my daughter reads to me, she always adds her own little spin to the stories. As a teacher I understand how important it is to read with your child each and every day. love for reading starts at home.
#13 sarah 2010-11-17 19:31
I try to encourage reading while shopping/runnin g errands. The kids help at the grocery store by reading the list, etc. We also encourage a comfy reading nook. Since birth, reading has been a huge highlight of our bedtime routine.
#12 Mandy 2010-11-17 00:14
I cannot keep enough books for my eight year old! She loves to read, and as an extension of that, she loves to write. She is intrinsically motivated to do so - school programs such as Accelerated Reader, Step Into Reading, etc. are not for her. Picking up a good book, being inspired to write her own stories and her own blog, and learning something that she's not learning in school - that inspires her. Her reward from mom and dad - more books, as many as she wants!
#11 April 2010-11-16 20:57
Our daughter can't stop reading, we encourage it with trips to the book store and lots of scholastic orders through school
#10 Lynn C 2010-11-13 15:06
Thanks for a great article! I love the idea of a cuddle corner.
We read with our 6 yr old son every day/night, now encouraging him to read to us as much as possible. It works well when he reads one page and we read the next. We encourage him to sound out the directions on his homework assignments, sound out menu choices, sound out signs on the highway, etc. There are so many opportunities to practice reading!! We've also been reading to our 11 month old since she was an infant. She loves the bright colors on the pages and the different voices and sound effects we make with each story.

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