You’ve probably heard all these tips:
- Read to your kids every day.
- Have books available to your kids all day.
- Read in front of your kids as a good example.
If you don’t do the above list, they are great starting points. We have read to our kids since they were teeny tiny. We also have at least 10 books in our play area at all times, and I read magazines or books (not my phone) in front of the kids. These are all wonderful ideas, but I wanted to expand and share some great tips that work for our family:
- Create variety, and make reading new!
I have a book bin that I change out every month with themed books. I store the books during the other months in my son’s closet, so they are new each season. For example, in January I fill the bin with books about winter and snow. For the months with holidays, it’s easy, but what about the rest of the year?
March/April: Easter books, bunny books, spring
May: spring, flowers, or super heroes if you’re like me
June: animals or any other theme your children might like
July: vacation, summer, beach
August: Free Choice – My kids each pick 3-5 books for the bin
September: back to school books or fall
Obviously, for the rest of the months, use the holiday for inspiration, but don’t limit yourself. For November, I use any book that talks about giving thanks not just books directly about Thanksgiving.
You can stick with whatever theme creates interest for your child. Your September bin may be filled with dinosaurs or princess books. Make it your own! Use whatever theme will interest your child most…no matter the season.
- Build a huge library – FOR FREE OR CHEAP!
We have hundreds of books, and I buy all our books used. People sell books that are basically new for less than $1. Most of my books were 25 to 50 cents. Where do I find these deals?
- Friends of the Library: local libraries have huge varieties of used books for very cheap.
- Little Free Libraries: There are little free libraries all over the world. They are usually little boxes in front of someone’s home. The idea is to give a book, get a book. I suggest you search using your location here.
- Garage sales
- Local Facebook Swap and Sell groups
- Scholastic book order forms: Order the $1 books. They usually have great selections. If you go online to order, you can order from any catalog and from the last few months. It’s worth your time to go back to old months and buy the $1 books.
- Give books as gifts.
You might be thinking: yeah right! My kid will never go for it. Really, what do you have to lose? Think about what interests your child (dinosaurs, princesses, science, Superman, etc.) You name it, there’s a book for it.
Create a little theme for the gift. I like to give a shirt, toy, and a book with the same theme. My kids love to read their book while holding the corresponding toy. I find that the toy and shirt peak their interest in the book.
- Use books as rewards.
If my children behave at the library, I will give them each a few coins to buy a book from the used book store. Sometimes this is the highlight of their trip as they are in charge of their own purchase.
- Use books as entertainment.
In all my 6 years of parenting, we have only brought the IPad to dinner once. It was for my son who struggles with Autism; we were celebrating my mother-in-law’s cancer recovery and wanted a perfect dinner. With that said, we use books as entertainment at restaurants (along with stickers, crayons, and toys). They are usually books with lots of fun pictures and/or high interest for the boys.
- Let them “read” to you.
My 6 year-old can read, so he reads to me daily. My other boys aren’t there yet, so we pick out a book together. Then they tell me what is going on in the story. They tell the story from their imagination. This is also good for language development.
- Create a reading nook. We have 2 in our house.
It’s super easy. We have a bean bag chair in the corner of the play area (our family room) with a basket of books.
We also have a “special” reading area for the big boys. It’s in the formal living room. They have their own special chair. This is where I keep the themed book basket.
Some other great ideas:
- Visit the library for their fun events.
- Participate in reading programs that offer rewards for reading.
- Place a basket of books or book shelf in your child’s room.
- Have your child create a book of their own including illustrations, and read it together.
Good luck on creating a love for reading in your kiddos! If you have any tips you’d like to share, please let us know! The more tips the better! Happy reading!
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