Reading is a primary key to knowledge, which, in turn, is the key to success in life. The illiteracy rate in America is 21% (as of 2022), meaning that 21% of adults in the United States cannot read. Think about it. Adults cannot read because they were once children who could not read. Therefore, it makes sense that increasing the childhood literacy rate will decrease the adult illiteracy rate.
Children will no doubt have a stronger desire to learn to read if a love-of-reading is inculcated in them from a young age. How can parents and other adults encourage and inspire a love-of-reading in kids? This blog post shares five easy-to-implement ideas that may not only increase a desire to read in the children you know, but in the adults who share your household as well.
Lead by example to encourage a love-of-reading in your kids
Children who never witness older kids or adults in their homes reading are less likely to develop a love-of-reading themselves. On the flipside, if your kids often see you with a book in your hands, they will view reading as a pleasant and useful activity and will be more likely to pick up a book on their own. Thus, one of the easiest ways to encourage a love-of-reading in children is to become an avid reader yourself.
Enjoy a family read-aloud hour every day
If your children are not used to listening to stories being read aloud to them, they might balk at this idea when you first initiate it. If so, simply insist that a read-aloud hour is going to be part of your family routine from now on. In time, (and by choosing quality stories to hold their interest), you’ll probably notice less resistance. In fact, your kids may start looking forward to family read-aloud time and will be begging you to read another chapter.
Studies show that children who are read to aloud by their parents or older siblings on a regular basis become avid readers more often than kids who grow up in households where this activity is never practiced. To make your family read-aloud time a success, choose a wide variety of stories, including humorous ones, suspenseful tales and classics.
Make sure there are always books on hand for your children
Another way to encourage a love-of-reading in children is to make sure they have plenty of options available wherever they go. Install bookshelves in their bedrooms and fill them with great stories. If shelves aren’t an option, simply place crates or baskets in their rooms, as well as in the livingroom, in your car and anywhere you can think of so that they always have books on hand to read.
Take regular day trips to a local library
Your local library is a great resource that can help support and encourage a love-of-reading in your kids. Many libraries host fun activities, such as summer reading camps, homeschooling clubs and other events that are centered around specific stories. Your library might host a meet-the-author event, which gives your children an opportunity to learn more about the writing industry. This can not only boost their own love-of-reading (to meet a favorite author is exciting!) but might inspire them to become a writer, as well.
Host a book club for your kids
Consider helping your children start a book club with their friends. The group can meet once a week at your home or another location, such as a local park. If a family cannot afford to purchase books, choose titles that they can borrow from the library. Think ahead to create fun activities that are centered on the book of choice, as well as “study guide” type questions to inspire discussions. You might wish to include snacks. And, if there is a movie based on the book the kids are reading, you can show it after they’ve completed the book.
The act of reading a hard copy is beneficial (especially for brain power) in many ways. Listening to a book on audio is a fun activity, but it’s not the same as reading. If we are going to reduce (or, better yet, eliminate) illiteracy in America, we must encourage a love-of-reading in children.