by Melissa, co-founder of Melissa & Doug.
Helping our children develop a lifelong love of reading is one of the greatest gifts we can give them. It starts young by spending quality time reading and interacting with books.
1. Make Time for Reading Every Day
Whether it’s a daily ritual of bedtime stories or a post-breakfast read-aloud routine, try to get in the habit of reading with your kids each and every day.
2. Use Books as a Spark for Conversation
Talk about what is happening on the pages. Experts say it’s these rich conversations and close physical interactions that build vocabulary and a sense of safety and security.
3. “Read” the Illustrations
Even before kids are able to read the words on the page, they can develop skills to “read” illustrations. What do they see happening in the pictures? Linger on each page a little to take a closer look at specific details to foster observation skills.
4. Ask “What Do You Think Happens Next?”
At critical moments in the story, pause before turning the page to ask your child to predict what might happen next.
5. Describe the Characters
After becoming familiar with characters in a story, ask kids to describe them. Are they kind? Stubborn? Someone you could imagine being friends with in real life?
6. Create Alternative Endings
Let your child experience the power of authorship by coming up with a different ending for the story.
7. Let Them See You Read
Be a role model and let kids catch you in the act of reading. In today’s world, where many adults are reading books and articles on devices, it’s important to let kids know what we’re doing when our attention is on the screen. (It used to be that they could see the novel, magazine, or newspaper in our hands).
8. Visit the Library
Some families I know regularly visit the children’s section of their local libraries. Getting a library card was one of the most momentous events of my life and is a wonderful way to foster a love of reading! Libraries are perfect for story hours, meeting new friends, and on hot summer days (or chilly snowy ones, for that matter!) pulling some books off shelves and cozying up together to read.
9. Seek Out Engaging Books Series
There is nothing more exciting to a reader than becoming captivated with a book series. I was truly obsessed with Little House on the Prairie and Nancy Drew, to name just two. Try to entice kids with different series until you find that one that will make them want to keep coming back for more! My younger kids loved Berenstain Bears and Curious George, and we literally read every single one!
10. Don’t Stop Reading to Them
Once your child learns how to read, don’t stop reading to them. Take turns reading each other pages or chapters. Everyone loves to be read to once in a while!
Here at Nest, we believe there is nothing better than watching kids discover the magic of reading as they dive into the remarkable depths of a good book. Our range of exclusive bookcases will provide a dedicated space for books and will also encourage reading.