Though there’s no 100% guaranteed way to turn a mini human into a reader, there are some strategies you can employ to greatly tip the scales in your favour.
1. Regularly read to your child
This is by far one of the most effective ways to grow a reader. It’s hard to overstate how impactful merely reading to your child can be in shaping the way they view books and reading. Taking the time to read together teaches your child to associate positive feelings with reading and books. It also makes kids view having reading time as part of their routine.
Note: While taking the time to practice reading with your child is also important, make sure to save some time for you to read to them as well. We learn very different literary skills when reading for ourselves vs when we are read to. Plus, it gives you a good excuse to cuddle together and bond! ;)
2. Regularly read to yourself
Seeing you reading as a part of your routine helps normalize the act of reading. It also serves to show your child that reading is a fun way to spend your free time.
3. Let them pick out the books they’ll read for pleasure
So long as the book is age-appropriate content-wise, let them pick what they will.
Series books? Wonderful.
How-to manuals? Fantastic.
The dictionary? If it floats their weird little boat then heck yeah!
When it comes to their reading-for-pleasure books, it’s okay if they’re below the level they’re supposed to be at. They’ll pick up harder books in their own time when they’re ready. When it comes to reading for pleasure, if it gets them reading, it’s a good book choice.
4. When getting books for them, get books on topics they’re interested in.
You know your kid and what interests them. What do they love talking about? Look for a book on those topics at or just slightly above their current reading abilities.
This can be a good opportunity to compromise on how much time they spend on things like video games by getting them manuals and fiction books about the game they like or on a related topic. That way they can spend more time on the topic of their video game but they’re doing so with a book. Win-win for everybody.