One of my earliest memories is of a trip to the library with my mom. The librarian placed a sticker on my reading log and let me pick a prize from a secret basket under her desk. My mom snapped a picture and put it, along with the reading log, in my scrapbook. Because the happiness and sense of accomplishment from that moment stuck in my memory, I wanted to give my children the same good start with books.
Reading with kids, to kids, and next to kids shows them you love to read and that it’s important to you. C.S. Lewis once said, “Eating and reading are two pleasures that combine admirably.” How many people scroll their phones at breakfast? (Guilty!) Why not open a book or newspaper and model something different? Encouraging a new habit such as reading isn’t hard but may require some proactive measures. Here are 5 more simple ways to get your child to love reading.

1. Challenge your child to a chapter.
Last week, I stopped by the library on the way home and picked up a few books. “Take a look at this one,” I said to my son, holding up a mystery novel. “Just read the first chapter or two. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to keep going.” An hour later, I found him curled up on his bed with the same book. I smiled to myself and backed away.
Many times, this trick works, but not always. And that’s OK. Try the chapter challenge with another book by a different author. A big part of reading is finding a genre, topic, or author that excites your child. And if a child does discover a new book he likes, usually he can find others in that category or by the same writer to keep going. Keep trying, a chapter at a time.

2. Get a recommendation.
“Let’s listen to Miss Melissa’s stories first,” I told my young daughter, my hand in hers as I led her through the stacks. “We can choose books afterward.” After storytime, I checked out one of the books the librarian read and then asked for more recommendations for both my children. We left the library with a bag full of books!
Now that my kids are older, we like to peruse the “new releases” shelves and sometimes use my library card to get on the waiting list for more popular books. If I see the librarian around, I’ll ask for recommendations for my now middle schoolers. Spending time at the library fostered my own love of reading as a child and I’m finding it has done a lot for my kids too. I love hearing them ask, “Can we go to the library?” And I always find it hard to say no.

3. Shop for used books.
“Here’s a bonus dollar,” I said handing each child a buck for the library’s used book sale. They’d brought some money, but I wanted them to come home with an armful of books. Digging through the boxes of old books felt like a treasure hunt, and I couldn’t wait to start. Sometimes the hunt for a new book is half the fun.
A love of reading doesn’t require much money, if any. Letting kids pick out their own books might be the first step needed to get started. Keep trying. More trips to the library and exposure to books will give them more opportunities to find what excites them.

4. Graphic Novels and Comics
“You want me to read this to you?” I asked. My daughter nodded. It was a comic-book-style book on bats. It had cute pictures of kids and bats and lots of word bubbles. But it also included tons of scientific facts. It wasn’t short either. But my daughter loved it so much that we decided to hang a bat box in our back yard that summer. We’re still waiting for guests to move in, but I’m excited that a book got us interested in something new!
Graphic novels are similar to the bat book with illustrations and word bubbles but are fictional. There are graphic novels for beginning readers all the way up to high-school age. My daughter could read a thick graphic novel in a short amount of time and feel very accomplished. Plus, she loved the story format and it made her want to get more.

5. Listen to audiobooks.
I sat on the floor in my son’s room as he and I both stared vacantly into space. We had an audiobook playing: Mary Pope Osborne’s Magic Tree House: Vacation Under the Volcano. And both of us had been transported to Pompeii in the days of the Roman Empire. Not only had we gotten lost in a good book together, we had the author in the room with us, reading her captivating story.
Audiobooks bring books to life in an engaging but different way. With audiobooks, tough reading becomes accessible. Recently, my kids and I listened to installments of White Fang every morning at breakfast. Would they have read this book on their own? Probably not. But they were rapt. A great narrator can be the key to enjoying a great book.

With audiobooks, tough reading becomes accessible.

What other ways can you get your child to love reading?

Who is your favorite character from a book?

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By Imom

ASK YOUR CHILD... Who is your favorite character from a book?

With audiobooks, tough reading becomes accessible.

What other ways can you get your child to love reading?

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