My kids read–a lot. It is almost unreal how much of their time they spend with a nose in a book. They are two and three years old, but I think they have a better attention span than many adults when it comes to reading.
I will not say it’s just the way they are, though. I have been very intentional in encouraging this love for reading–from day one.
So, whether you are a new mom trying to figure out how to go about this whole reading thing, or simply a wanting a few extra tips to try out, here are the things we do around here to keep our love of literature so rich:
1. Have books everywhere.
Our place is consumed with books. I have them set out in baskets in every room of the house.
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you’ll go.” ~Dr. Seuss, “I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!”
2. Be intentional with placement.
Not only do we have books in every room, but they are in very easily accessible, readily seen areas. For example, I purposely place a large basket of books right in between their crib/toddler bed. Often, I enter their room in the mornings and after naps to find them sitting with a pile of books around them.
“Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.” ~Frederick Douglas
3. Clear out distractions.
The living room is where we spend 80% of our time indoors. It contains a couch, a chair, and three large baskets of overflowing books. I do not keep any toys here, and yet, because it is the main area of our home, it is where the kids like to spend the majority of their time. Come in at almost any hour and you will find these books strewn across the floor. There is no mess I love more than freshly read stories!
“It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.” ~Oscar Wilde
4. Read to them–a lot.
My favorite thing to do with them at home is read, and so I do–often. They watch our every move. When we read to them we are teaching them what a great and exciting thing it is. Every time we open the pages we are nurturing a love for literature in them.
“Anyone who says they have only one life to live must not know how to read a book.” ~Author Unknown
5. Go to the library–a lot.
I try to get us here once a week. Believe me, it is every bit as much for me as them. Do you know how tiring it is to read the same book fifty million times?? Each week we fill our book bags to the brim with new tales. You would think it was Christmas morning for them when we come home and lay them all out upon the floor.
“There are perhaps no days of our childhood we lived so fully as those we spent with a favorite book.” ~Marcel Proust
6. Read them their interests.
These days my daughter is huge into Tinker Bell, Cinderella, and Dora the Explorer. Pierce is obsessed with anything cars, trains, or trucks. We of course sprinkle our collection with other tales, but at the current moment, these bring up the majority. I really believe a major reason they love reading is because we are reading what they love.
“Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him.” ~Maya Angelou
7. Turn off the media–a lot.
We do not have a television or ipad around. I wrote about that here. But I completely understand if everyone does not want to go this extreme with things! Just turn it off a little more. A major reason my kids spend so much time in books is because there is nothing else comparable. To a child, a fast moving, brightly colored character is going to win. But when that animated character is taken from the scene, that same child will use her own brain to imagine the movement taking place upon the pages.
“A book is a device to ignite the imagination.” ~Alan Bennett
8. Visit the bookstores– a lot.
Do you know how magical a place like Barnes and Nobles children’s section is to a young child? Even I feel my heart race a little faster when we walk into that pastry and warm coffee deliciousness. Anything you could ever want to read is right there waiting for you to explore. And if you catch them at the right time you can join in at Story Time as well! We can spend literal hours in this place.
“A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading. ~William Styron
9. Keep them in the Car
Am I the only one whose kids LOVE to snack in the car. I really think it is because they are more or less bored and it gives them something to do. Occupy their mind with a few of their favorite tales instead.
“Today a reader, tomorrow a leader.” – Margaret Fuller
10. Make a few book reading routines
Mornings can be hit or miss depending on what is going on that day, but without fail my kids immediately walk over to the couch after nap time, waiting for me to read to them. The same is true before bed. There are other times throughout the day I will open a tale for them, but these are the expected–for all of us. And my kids love this part of our daily routine.
“There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them.” ~Joseph Brodsky
11. Have fun with it
We never push reading on our kids. If they do not want to at the moment, we go on to the next thing. It is simply something that is there, all around them. But the choice is always theirs. When reading becomes a chore, some sort of forced duty, it quickly loses its excitement.
Keep things fun and fresh. When they want to read, great, and when they don’t, great still. But never stress yourself out about it.
We only have our children once. Let’s enjoy every last moment with them!
Join in on the conversation! What are some things you do to encourage reading at your place? I would love to hear them!