Parenting

How to Raise a Generation of Readers

If you’re a book-lover, I’m sure you’re fully aware of all the benefits reading has had on your emotional and mental growth. As long as there are books, there is always something new for us to learn, fantastical worlds to discover, and endless inspiration to motivate us. But with the pervasiveness of screens and the allure of mobile games, there are fewer and fewer readers among younger generations.

To this day, I still remember the first time I read a book from cover to cover on my own and was left mesmerized by the world within the yellowed pages for a whole week afterward. It is a feeling that I want to give my children because it would be such a shame for them to miss out on such an awesome experience.

But how do you get your child into the habit of reading books instead of playing on smartphones and tablets?

Start Young.

Read to them every day, even if they are too young to understand. The more familiar they are with books, the more likely they will choose to pick them up later on. Let them feel the pages, show them colorful visuals, have them listen to the sound and rhythm of your voice as you read to them. Buy textured baby books so they can play with them and start to develop the association between books and fun.

Engage Them.

Let your baby/child interrupt you during your reading sessions. Recognize their attempts to connect with the story, let them form their own opinions, answer their questions. The more engaged your child feels, the more they will connect with you and the book in front of them.

Let Them Choose.

While it’s great to introduce some of your childhood favorites, do let your child choose. Let them develop their own tastes so they can grow more confident to explore and expand their library.

Expand Their World.

It’s not uncommon for a child to get stuck on one ultimate favorite book and will want you to read the same book every single day. While that’s fine and you shouldn’t refuse them, don’t hesitate to introduce some unfamiliar topics. Show them new cultures, ideas, art, history. They may not have context for those subjects, but you can help them learn about something they may not necessary experience in their own lives. The more comfortable they are with the unfamiliar, the more likely they will dare to step out of their comfort zone in the future.

Reading is learning at its most pleasurable. You can learn so much about human nature and the world around us even without opening a textbook or nonfiction novel (even though those are great reads too). And the more you read, the more your children will read. It takes a reader to raise a reader.

Kaitlyn Lo

Kaitlyn is a blogger and professional writer. While specializing in health and relationship topics, she also writes articles on a variety of topics, including culture, food, technology, and politics. Her written work can be found on pilcrowmagazine.com and on her website.