My daughter, Sicily (18 months), is a huge book lover. Books are the only object in our house that she will fight you for. Some days she will spend hours sitting on the steps reading her books. Other days I get bombarded with requests to “eed (read)”
I try to take advantage of this love of books and help her develop a true passion for reading, which is my ultimate goal. Before any academic learning takes place in literacy, I want her to, above all else, love to read. Today I wanted to give you a few tips on developing that love of reading and ways to celebrate books with your children.
1. Make reading fun and relaxed
Reading should not be forced, especially the types of books (or comics and magazines) your child chooses. Let them be in charge of their reading by choosing whatever it is that they want to read, even if it’s the same old comic book over and over again.
I also have a cozy reading spot in my house for Sicily to read. It has a box full of reading buddies, books at her level, and comfy chairs. She loves going into this area to enjoy her books.
2. Have family reading time
This is a great tip for those who have reluctant readers. Create a time in your day for the whole family to sit and read. The family can choose whether to read independently, or choose a read aloud to read as a whole family together.
3. Follow your child’s lead
If they want to read 5 minutes, that’s fine. 5 minutes a day is still over 30 hours a year of reading! Sicily has the tendency is get up in the middle of a story, so I let her. She’s still a toddler, so her attention span is short most of the time. I just continue reading. I figure she is still hearing the words and learning the vocabulary even if she’s not sitting on my lap fully involved.
4. Share books that you love
I bet there is a book that you are quite fond of from your childhood. Pull it out and share it with your children. Let them see your enthusiasm for the story. There is no better way to develop a love of reading than sharing your own love of reading.
5. Celebrate books
Have a book celebration night. These are great for after you finish a chapter book or a picture book you really love. Make a dinner and/or snack inspired by the book and finish the night off with a related movie or art project. Make the celebration a whole family affair to really get everyone excited.
Ways to Celebrate and Extend a Book
There are many ways to celebrate and extend a book. I homeschool my daughter, and one of our favourite ways to extend on a book is to create a weekly theme around it. One of our favourites this year was The Very Hungry Caterpillar, which you can read about it right here.
When I sit down to plan out a theme around our favourite books, I take a look in Pinterest to get some ideas that hit each learning domain. To help you plan your next theme around books for toddlers and preschoolers, you can download my Book Theme Planner here.
Another way to celebrate books is to create art projects, sensory bins, felt board stories, or small worlds. Children love hands on activities, so the more they get to use their hands the better the celebration and deeper the love of reading with grow.
Remember the most important thing is to develop that passion for reading. So I challenge you to go grab a book, find a comfy spot, and read with your child for at least 10 minutes every day.
About the Author
Amanda is the founder of Sicily’s Heart and Home where she helps mamas educate their youngest learners and plan a home education environment for toddlers and preschoolers. She has an 18-month old daughter and another little one due in February. Amanda is a former public education teacher with experience working with infants up to 5 grade.
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