While I don’t believe that toddlers and preschoolers should be taught to read there are things you can do as a parent to develop a love for reading in your child at an early age.
A love for reading is important because the more your child loves to read, the more your child will read and children that read the most are the best readers.
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Make books accessible all day long.
I personally have my son’s books where he can reach them in his room and I have a box of books in my room where he tends to spend a lot of time while I work. He also gets to choose a book to put in his backpack when we go out, so he has something to read in the car.
The idea is to make books and “reading” a normal part of life for your toddler or preschooler.
Read out loud to your child.
Children that are read to a minimum of three times a week are almost twice as likely to score in the top 25% on standardized tests. Don’t underestimate the power and importance of reading to your child!
Reward your child with reading time.
We’ve all experienced our child wanting to read the same book fifty thousand times. While this is truly wonderful, who actually has time to read the same book fifty thousand times? I will never deny my child a chance to “read” on his own but I can’t always sit and read to him all day long.
So, what I’ve started doing is letting him know we are going to read x amount of times and then you can read. Then, I’ve started using additional reading time as a reward or incentive (bribe?). It’s so much better than using food/treats as a reward!
Using more reading time with you as a reward makes reading extra special and kids love extra special things!
Put books on birthday and Christmas wish lists.
The first few years of your child’s life is the perfect time to establish that books are an exciting gift. So, start early and be intentional about asking for books for birthdays and Christmas.
Create a fun theme day around books.
Go to story time.
Most libraries and even some bookstores offer a free story time on a weekly basis. We like to go to the one at Barnes & Noble.
Be a reader yourself.
The best way to teach your child to love reading is to lead by example. This may be hard for you if you happen to be a person that doesn’t love reading but, again, setting your child up to love reading will help him be a great reader. So, find something you do enjoy reading, even if it’s a magazine or a catalog!
Get comfortable, sit and read and chances are your little one will want to join you. My son gets very excited when he sees me reading a book. (And also, I’m pretty sure they have some kind of radar that goes off when mom gets comfortable!).
You can read your book out loud or let your child choose a book to read on her own.
Developing a love for reading in your child is really not complicated but you do have to be intentional.
About the Author
Hi! I'm Inez, the owner and content creator of For the Love of Mom, a website dedicated to helping moms thrive in motherhood by offering helpful advice, tips and resources. Hi! I'm Inez, the owner and content creator of For the Love of Mom, a website dedicated to helping moms thrive in motherhood by offering helpful advice, tips and resources.