Reading is an important lifelong skill for your child to develop, but how can you foster a love of reading that will last well into adulthood? Believe it or not, there are things you can do at every stage of your child’s development to help foster a love of reading that will stay with them for their entire lives.
Infancy to pre-school: read near and to them.
There are two ways to build a love of reading at this age. The first is to read to your child, even if they are at an age where they don’t understand what’s being said. It helps foster your connection with your child and gives them an example of how communication works. It also ensures their first experience with a book will be a positive one. As they get older and more active, try to read when they are around and let them see you reading. If your child sees you enjoying reading, it will pique their interest in learning to read themselves.
Pre-school to elementary school: start teaching reading skills.
This is a great time to begin teaching them valuable reading skills, from letter recognition to phonics. While your child likely learns a lot about reading from schoolwork, you taking the time to teach them more about reading can help them learn even better! There are so many fun ways to teach reading at home, including playing with letter magnets and getting some basic word cards. Different children may respond well to different strategies, so know going into this that there is no “wrong” or “right” way to do it. Try making your own supplies, and see what works best for you and your child!
Middle school and high school: let them choose.
As your child gets older, it’s time to give them more freedom to choose what they are reading. Whenever possible, let them choose books that interest them, and avoid criticizing their reading choices. Although you may not enjoy the same books they do, letting them select “for fun” books that reflect their own interest will help them see reading as something enjoyable, not just something to check off their to-do list. Letting them choose what to read now will make them much more willing to pick up books and read them as they get older, for enjoyment as much as anything else!
Now, you are ready to help your child of any age foster a love of reading.