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We are MEGA readers in this house and I want to share a couple of tips with you on raising kids who love reading.
We made a little trip to Barnes & Noble this week to redeem our summer reading charts. (Have you ever participated in their summer reading program? While we were there we did a little back to school book shopping. Yeah, most people do back-to-school clothes shopping, we do book shopping. 😉
Let me just begin by saying that I am in love with Barnes & Noble. I love browsing through the shelves and seeing all of the many amazing books. When I was young (read: before children), I used to go there to browse and just wander and look at all of the different sections. I would also sit in their comfy chairs and read there. I don’t have the luxury to spend hours in a bookstore alone anymore, but I still love going there!
I am typically an online shopper, but going into a bookstore is just magical for me. There is something special about holding a book and flipping through its pages before making a purchase. You can really get a feel for a book. When you buy books online, I don’t feel like it is the same experience at all! I just LOVE looking through books before buying. So, bookstores are one of my favorite stores to go to. If only I had an unlimited budget and endless space, oh and all the time in the world to read ALL THE BOOKS!
It was really fun letting my kids loose in the Barnes & Noble store, too. They were like kids in a candy store- er, uh, kids in a bookstore?! They were so excited to be able to explore all of the fun books in the kid section of the store. I love how kid-friendly Barnes & Noble is. They have several different play areas for the little ones so us big kids can look for a little while to find what we want. Plus their kid section is so great! They have a huge selection.
My older kids loved being able to browse books that they have heard about from their friends. As we were leaving my son said “I could literally spend hours here!” He must be my son! It is so funny to realize that my kids are just like me: they love books. What did I do to create that??? I have contemplated it a lot, and this what I have come up with:
Tips for Raising Kids Who Love Reading:
- Begin exposing them to books when they are very young.
- Read to them every day, every day, EVERY DAY!
- Make reading time a purely enjoyable experience. Read them their favorite book 500 days in a row if that is what they need. It should be a special bonding time and one that you enjoy, too (even if you are just pretending to enjoy it for their sake!)
- Surround them with a multitude of books. If this is not in the budget, get a library card and fill your home with books that way. We built our library by frequenting thrift stores with good book collections.
- Let them choose what they want to read, just provide lots of great options!
- Read aloud to kids who are old enough to read to themselves. I still read to my oldest all the time and he is an incredible reader.
- When reading to them, read a book that is a little above their own reading level. This exposes them to new words in a non-threatening setting. They can just enjoy the story and not stress about doing it themselves. But they are hearing a great book that they would not have read on their own.
- If you are reading something aloud that the kids don’t enjoy, put it aside and find something that they love instead.
- Some kids will not love to read until later, and that is completely normal. Keep reading to them to help them learn to love it. They will eventually take off on their own.
I let my kids each pick a couple of books that they wanted. It was funny how excited they were to be able to choose all for themselves! I typically do most of the book shopping without my kids. (Yeah, I am a bit of a book snob.) I like to carefully choose selections for them that I just know they will love. This time they got to pick all on their own. I was impressed with their choices. (I did choose the book for my toddler- she wanted an Elmo one with noisy buttons. No-thanks.)
We spent a good part of our school morning exploring the store. We decided to count that as some of our read-aloud time for school time. The kids loved that! 🙂 They jumped right in and I could barely drag them out of their new books!
So, all-in-all our back to school book shopping was a fun success! We got some great books that the kids will be enjoying for a long time to come. We are making room on our shelves for our lovely new selections.