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When I was a reading specialist, a lot of parents asked me what they could do at home to help foster a love of reading.  This list is full of a lot of things you can do with younger kids, but some of the ideas on this list can be carried over to the older child who hasn’t figured out how to make reading their own yet.

10. Let Them Play With Books—Smaller kids love carrying books around the house, chewing on books, throwing books, ripping books…don’t discourage them from doing those things!  You probably have some books that you don’t want to have ruined, but make sure that you have some sturdy board books that can take some abuse, some indestructibles, some bath books, and some books that you just don’t care if they get ruined.

9. Give Them Some Choice—You can even let little kids pick what they are going to read by holding up two options and saying “do you want this one or this this one?”  Read the one they point to.  As they get older, they can pick out books from their shelf on their own.

8. Take Trips to the Library—Take your kids to the library from a young age so that they can see books in other places besides your home.  If you take your child to story time, take a few minutes before or after to check some books out.

7. Have Interactive Books—This would be books that have flaps they can lift, books that call for a verbal response, or even pop-up books.  If they get a chance to interact with a book every once in a while, they will buy into reading even more.

6. Have Some of the Books You Grew Up On—You might be lucky enough to still have the actual copies of books that you read, where you wrote your name on the front cover.  If not, that’s okay.  Buy a new copy of your favorite book and you’ll have a story to tell your kid about how much you loved it when you were their age.  If you happen to have a 30+year-old book with your name in it, tell them about how you read it over and over, and now it gets to be their book!

5. Get Books About the Things They Are Interested In—As they get older you will start to see what your kid likes, and you can use this to your reading advantage.  Do you have a kid who loves tractors?  Get a tractor book!  Do they love animals?  There are a million animal books out there!

4. Read In Front of Your Kid—Don’t just read with them.  Make sure that they see you reading adult books for yourself sometime.  Once your child actually starts reading on their own, you can institute family reading time where everyone reads a book.

3. Read With Your Kid Every Day—You might read a book to them just at night before bed, or a few times during the day, but don’t let a day go by with out reading with your kid.

2. Bring Books in the Car—Need something to keep the kids occupied while you travel?  Bring a couple of board books with you.  Even just letting them turn the pages in the car seat will encourage an enjoyment of reading later in life.

1. Have a Literacy Rich Home—In other words, have lots of books in your home.  Have a bookshelf for children that they can reach on their own.  Have adult books that your child can see.  Show your kids how important reading is to you by having books that are easily accessible.