Summertime is the best time of year for kids—and the perfect time to inspire your children with a love of reading. Encourage them to associate reading with fun, adventure, and warm memories, and they’ll be hooked on reading for life. As parents, we need to think strategically about ways to instill a love of reading in our kids, from their preschool years through their teenage years. Here are seven suggestions:
1. Create a cozy reading nook for your child. The ideal book nook should contain a comfortable chair with easy-to-reach bookshelves, bookmarks, a dictionary, and maybe an ebook reader. (Kids love ebooks!)
2. Creatively combine reading with meals and snack. Serve soup with readings from Louse Ehlert’s “Growing Vegetable Soup,” which tells how vegetables are grown. Or read Marjorie Priceman’s “How to Make an Apple Pie” with your child — a tour of all the places apple pie ingredients come from — then make a pie together.
3. Start a family book review blog. Have family members post book reviews, lists of favorite books, stories about author visits at school, and other book-related postings. Teach your kids to enjoy discussing the books they read.
Encourage your children to associate reading with fun, adventure, and warm memories, and they’ll be hooked on reading for life.
4. Read the book and see the movie. Then discuss. Some conversation starters: How was the movie different from the book? Why do you think the filmmakers made those changes? What was the moral of the story? What would you have done differently if you were the author or filmmaker?
5. Encourage your child to write and illustrate a book. Kids learn what it’s like to be an author by making up a story and sharing it with others.
When my son was in kindergarten, he came to me and said, “Daddy, would you help me? I want to write a book about a boy who invents a time machine.” We worked on the project together for a week. My son eventually lost interest—but I didn’t. I wrote it up as a book proposal and sold it to a publisher. That idea became the four-book “Timebenders” series—and I dedicated the first book, “Battle Before Time,” to my son, who gave me the idea.