Tuesday, October 30, 2012

"Instilling Lifelong Reading Habits in Your Children"

Hope my fellow East Coast peeps are safe and hunkering down during Hurricane Sandy.

Why does naming a hurricane, full of disorder and destruction, Sandy make me laugh? Only two thoughts come to mind: 

  1. Sandy has the word 'sand' in it, which gives me a tropical and calm visual.
  2. Everyone knows 'Sandy' as the female MC in the hit movie & musical GREASE. Her name is the epitome of sweet.
Any hoot, today I have a guest post by Sara Dawkins, a freelance writer and active nanny. How fun!! She's been patiently waiting for me to release her post. *wink - Thx for being so cool, Sara!* Please give her a warm welcome! 

"Instilling Lifelong Reading Habits in Your Children"

Developing lifelong reading habits in your children may seem like a daunting task. In reality, all it takes is encouragement, leading by example and perks to keep your kids interested and asking for more. Below are 5 ways to get your child's reading habits kick started and reinforced to continue through adulthood.

1. Read to your child - This may be obvious but it is the most important step in establishing strong reading habits. When your children see you read, they want to do it as well. If you read to them from birth, they will grow up with reading as part of their daily routine and are more likely to continue it on their own. Read different types of books in different genres. Early on, focus on books with vivid colors and art to keep your baby or toddler interested.

2. Set a specific time to read - In the shuffle of family life, it's easy for reading time to be pushed aside. Set a specific time each day to focus on reading with your child, whether it is first thing in the morning or at bedtime. When your child is old enough (about 1 year old), allow him or her to choose the book. Be sure to have a wide selection on hand, which leads to the next point.

3. Start creating your home library early on - Start building up a collection of books for your child as early as during pregnancy. Books can be expensive but there are many places to get great deals on children's books and adult reading material as well. Research used book stores in your areas and you can find books as low as $. 25 - $1.00. The library is also a great option and getting books there is free!

4. Set goals - Once your child is old enough to read books on his own, set reading goals that lead to prizes. Prizes can be an outing to a favorite park, a sweet treat or even a new book to continue to perpetuate the reading habit. Once the goal is reached, increase it slightly by adding another book to the list or raising the reading level. Adding a visual goal chart on the wall would be a fun way to begin the challenge.

5. Reduce television and time online - This is probably the most important way to instill lifelong reading habits in your children. Often times, children spend hours watching television, playing games online or playing a handheld gaming device. While everything is okay in moderation, decreasing time with technology will inevitably lead to a stronger passion for reading in the long run.

Reading is one of the most important habits you can instill in your children. It's also one that can be done anywhere, anytime and anyplace. Don't be afraid to take a book with you everywhere you go and always have it on hand to help make reading one of your child's favorite activities!

Author Bio
Sara is an active nanny as well as an active freelance writer. She is a frequent contributor of http://www.nannypro.com/ 


  1. Great tips Sara. We did all those things when my daughter was young and she's always liked reading. The challenge when they get to high school is that there is very little time for TV, computer for fun, or reading for pleasure unless a teacher assigns it.

  2. My parents read to me and they were always reading, so it set a great example.

  3. Setting a specific time is the one I really need to work on. With such a loopty-loo schedule, reading time doesn't get the high priority it should. This is very good advice.

    1. Yeah, I usually do my reading later at night. I started that a few years ago and it's worked out great!

  4. Excellent advice! My daughters are grown now. But I have three little grandsons and they will remember me for story reading, pizza, and thrift stores.

    Hugs and chocolate,

  5. yay! Im already doing all but one of these things!

  6. Great tips. My kids love going to the library. They see it as a fun outing with mommy. :)

  7. Excellent tips! My grandpa and mom LOVE reading and I watched them enjoy reading when I was little. I wanted to be just like them--it definitely helped me become an avid reader. :)

  8. I completely agree...my parents read to me and I read to my younger siblings. I also, aside from morning cartoons, didn't watch TV that much. In fact my dad got rid of our TV. I credit all of this to making me the bookworm & writer I am...and it seems like my brother may have caught the bookworm bug as well :)

  9. As an FYI for building a home library (especially for babies and toddlers) -- check out yard sales. A lot of people try to get rid of baby books as soon as their kids outgrow them.

    And I've actually found a bunch of great books at the local Goodwill. It's a bit heavy on the cookbooks there, but you can usually find a couple of classics for your library.

    Great article! My parents read with me when I was little, which is definitely a big part of why I still love reading today.

  10. This is a fascinating post. It made me remember a part of my childhood I'd forgotten. Although neither parent read books to me, my father taught me the alphabet and numbers before I started kindergarten. Since I became an avid reader and a good student, I imagine that the head start I got from my father was a great help. Thanks for the post! :-)

  11. i agree, sandy is too sweet for a hurricane, especially one that caused so much havoc!

    and your suggestions are great! the last one is the hardest these days...

  12. I don't remember my parents reading to me but I do remember receiving books as gifts quite often and I was always thrilled to get them. Still am :)

  13. Excellent tips! Once my son got old enough to read, he's been a reluctant reader. Once the reads out loud ended, it's been a struggle. He's now 14. But I did all the same thing with my daughter, and she devours books!

  14. GREAT tips and ones we employ in our home--it's hard with electronics and activities but so important to take the time to enforce this kind of time!


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