4 Ways to Raise Kids Who Love to Read
Encourage a love of reading during National Reading Month.
When people joke about my job as a morning news anchor they like to say, “all you do is read something someone else wrote.” They also bring up the famous scene in “Anchorman” where Ron Burgundy reads exactly what is in the teleprompter and curses out San Diego. While what I do is much more than that, without an early love of reading I wouldn’t be where I am today.
Like many kids, I started reading by identifying words on signs and billboards from memory and commercials. My mom swears I could read anything at the age of 3. She also believes I should be hosting “The Price is Right” instead of Drew Carey (Thanks Mom!). There are several other things she and others did to encourage my love of reading that you can try during National Reading Month.
Be an investigator.
Kids are naturally curious and full of questions. Suggest they look for answers or investigate using something other than Google, or as I call him, Michael Googlet (rhymes with Bublé). In our house, trips to a library or the bookstore are pretty common. We look for books based on the kids’ interests. As they’ve gotten older we’ve found that they have favorite authors and characters. Tyler, my 7-year-old, has zoomed through nearly every Magic Tree House book. We followed that up by checking out the audio version of many of the same books.
Create a reading nook.
When my wife or I read together with the boys before bed, it’s usually at the top of my oldest son's loft bed. When Tyler reads alone, he does so underneath the loft bed in what he calls his reading clubhouse. This area features curtains on the sides for privacy from his little brother Chase, a cloth-covered foam easy chair, and is meticulously decorated with his favorite things.
Act it out.
When the boys were little, one of the first books we read was “Tickle Monster.” The book comes with big puffy Tickle Monster mitts, which allows mom or dad to be the Tickle Monster. Before I read a new book to my boys, I try to come up with some distinct voices for the characters. I often ask them to help me come with the voice by telling me if it should be higher or lower, younger or older, or if I should have an accent. When we read together the kids come up with voices for the characters they want to read and it becomes more like a play.
We carve out 20 minutes or more of reading every night. If we know we will be getting home late, we make sure there are books in the car for the boys to read. It’s become so routine that our kids practically beg for us to read more, or to go to the library or bookstore as much as they ask to go to GameStop and Five Guys.
One last thing: If you’re wondering if a book is right for your kid, read it yourself first. You wouldn’t want them to pull a Ron Burgundy.