I’ve been an avid reader since I was 7 and I owe it to my parents.
It started with them reading to me when I was little, then they became my biggest supporters when I learned to read and started following my curiosity – even when, at 11, I decided to read all of Stephen King’s books in a month and was too scared to sleep alone for weeks.
Today, reading and writing isn’t just a hobby, but an essential part of my work as a communications professional. And I’m following my parents’ recipe for passing on this love of reading to my own children.
1. Read aloud
Make reading one of your children’s core memories by reading to them.
The stories will spark their imagination and they’ll associate reading with happy family moments. And if they make a habit of reading at an early age, it’ll become part of their daily routine like showering or brushing their teeth.
2. Books everywhere
A house full of books not only makes your kids curious about what’s on the pages, but more importantly, it shows them that reading is important in your family.
I remember being curious about what was on my parents’ shelf, and some of those books are still my favourites to this day.
3. Be the role model
It doesn’t matter how many times you tell your child to read, you have to be a reader yourself and set a good example.
Children are sponges who imitate everything their parents do. So it goes without saying that you need to model for them the behaviour you expect of them.
4. Let your child read what he or she wants
One thing I hated in school was when teachers made us read boring books from 1830 and then didn’t understand why the students weren’t interested.
Let your kids follow their curiosity and read what interests them, so that reading is a pleasure and not a chore. In this way you’ll also help them develop the potential they were born with, as I mentioned in my post about observing and interacting in child rearing.
5. Make books accessible
My parents told me to use my allowance when I wanted to buy toys and sweets, but they never said no when I asked them to buy books. They considered books a basic need and were happy to support my reading habits.
Not only did they give me a library card, but they also took me to bookstores regularly so I could choose what I wanted to read in the coming weeks. I was so proud of my little library that I introduced many of my favourite books to my friends as well.
Those moments of book shopping are some of my fondest memories with Mom and Dad, and I can’t wait until my boys are old enough so we can continue this tradition and we can stop reading the same book every night.
Be the reader you want your kid to be! It starts with us parents.