9 Mom-Tested Tips for Raising Kids Who Love to Read

kids reading a bookWhen I was a child, one of my favorite things to do was ride my bike to the local library so I could check out 10 new books, the most the library would let you borrow at one time. I'd carefully load my book bag and peddle home so I could spend the rest of the day happily lost in fictional worlds. I'm certain I spent more time reading than doing any other hobby as a kid, so it was a total shock to me when my first child became old enough to start reading on his own and just ... didn't.


I've been feeling discouraged about this, so I turned to the parenting experts -- aka other moms on the Internet -- and discovered that there are some great strategies for helping my son learn to love reading that I've never thought! I can't wait to try these genius suggestions from other moms on raising a reader:

1. Bring Them to Literary Events

"I take my kids to see author book signings. There are sparks you can literally see when they connect the author with a book they've read. We recently saw Stuart Gibbs receive an award at the library. He had the kids laughing hysterically. He also told them to write every day, and that it doesn't matter if it makes sense -- someday there will be a story line. [The kids] realize everyday people can become authors!" -- Erin K., Saint Paul, Minnesota

2. Make Reading a Habit and a Reward

"My husband and I both love to read, and the kids see us reading. We read to them every day starting at birth and took them to the library all the time. We give them books as gifts. We give each other books as gifts. We use trips to the bookstore as rewards. We have books in basically every room of the house. We don't censor what they read ... We borrow and buy books on any topic that interests them, from cars to tornadoes to Star Wars." -- Jessica G., Saint Paul, Minnesota

3. Go Old-School

"I think the best thing is to let my kids see me read an actual paper book, not one on my tablet. If I'm on my tablet, it just looks like I'm surfing the Internet or playing a game. Letting them see me read and enjoy books has helped them be more inclined to grab books on their own." -- Sarah F., Hudsonville, Michigan

4. Let Them Pick Their Reading Material

"Sure, I'd love my daughter to love the classics of children's literature, but that isn't the hill I'm willing to die on. I'd rather she read fluff books about puppies and princesses than not read at all." -- Melanie M., Atlanta, Georgia

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5. Experiment With Different Genres

"Two words: Graphic. Novels. My son really struggled with reading in first and second grade and was super discouraged by it, so he couldn't really enjoy it. We discovered that graphic novels really helped by giving him picture cues that helped him figure out the words. He could also find books that were more suited to his age and interests than he could with board books." -- Claire R., Lawrence, Kansas

6. Make Movie Ties

"My girls love to read. When they were little, we would read a book that is also a movie and when we finished, we would watch the movie with popcorn. Then we would talk about what was left out of the movie or what we imagined differently." -- Jennifer T., Roseville, Minnesota

7. Listen to Books

"Listening to audio books was a game changer for us. We listened to the first Harry Potter book on a long road trip, and as soon as we got back, my son was begging for the next one in the series. Hearing the book really helped him connect to the characters and language so he felt more confident when it came to reading such a big book himself." -- Brooke O., Dallas, Texas

8. Form a Family Book Club

"One night a week we have a 'bring your book to the table' night for dinner. We always get pizza and everyone takes a turn talking about what book they're reading. It's really fun." -- Fiona C., Toledo, Ohio

9. Use Rewards

"Honestly, I used bribery. My daughter is a perfectionist and she hated reading at first because she felt she wasn't good at it, and she struggles to enjoy things she's not good at. I set up a system where she got a star for every 20 minutes of reading and then when she had 20 stars, she could turn them in for a prize. All the practice paid off, and she became more confident as a reader. I felt good about it when one week she turned in her stars and requested a book as the prize." -- Myrna W., Cedar Rapids, Iowa

How do you encourage and foster reading with your kids?

Photo via PeopleImages/iStock

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