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How do you help your child develop good reading habits?

Updated: Apr 5, 2023

three kids reading together

Reading is an essential skill and has countless benefits for a child’s development and future success. To encourage little readers to nurture a habit of reading, here are some tips that you can try:

1) Establish a reading routine

grandmother and grand daughter reading a storybook before bedtime

Create a routine where you and your child set aside a specific time each day for reading, whether it’s before bedtime, or during a specific time of the day.

Reading before bed can have a calming effect after a busy day. Not only will your child associate bedtime stories as soothing and relaxing, it also doubles up as bonding time for the both of you.

2) Create a reading-friendly environment

kids home library to promote reading

Your home library does not have to be big or have many shelves. Create a comfortable reading space that includes a variety of age-appropriate books, allow the books to be easily within reach of your child to encourage independent reading. Make the space fun and inviting by decorating it, or add a chair specially chosen by your child, so that he or she will want to spend more time in that space.

3) Make reading fun

mom reading to daughter with animated emotions

Reading aloud is a simple yet effective way to make reading fun and engaging. Before even opening the book, look at the cover and make predictions together on what the book is about. As you read, stop to ask your child questions about the characters, about the plot, about how they feel, about what they think will happen next.

Read with enthusiasm and expression by bringing the characters to life with different voices, facial expressions, and gestures. Don’t be shy, the more dramatic the better! Introducing post-reading activities like acting out scenes from the story, or creating crafts related to the book will also make reading more dynamic and interesting for your child.

4) Let your child pick what to read

little boy reading on his bed with his book shelf of books beside him

Allow your child to select the book to be read during story time. Even if your child chooses the same book daily for the next few days, embrace his choice enthusiastically. Younger kids enjoy repetition and familiarity, and the simple routine of reading the same book over and over again can provide a little structure to their life. You can support further learning opportunities within this familiar context by focusing on something new with each retelling.

For older children, allow your child to pick out books in the bookstore or library by themselves. To help narrow down their choices, you could give your child a section of books to choose from. Children are more likely to want to read something that they picked out themselves.

5) Find reading moments in everyday life

Reading should be part of daily life. As you go through your day together, help your child keep an eye out for ‘reading moments’. It could be as simple as reading road signs, store menus, or grocery lists.

From this, your child will come to understand the importance and relatability of reading to everyday life. Don’t let them think reading only happens at school, it can happen everywhere!

6) Set reading goals and use positive reinforcements

For older children, establishing reading goals are important to allow your child to understand themselves better. Reading goals are personal and are dependent on their current identity as readers. If your child does not know how to choose a book that he likes, or does not take the initiative to read on his own, these could be reading goals that he starts off with.

Setting achievable goals and rewarding the goals when they are met are vital in keeping this good habit alive.

7) Be a reading role model & limit your screen time

daughter happily sitting on mom's lap while reading storybook

One of the most important things you can do is model good reading behavior. Turn off the TV, put away your phone, and spend quality time with a book. Watching you read will encourage them to develop a reading habit. Ask them to join you with their favourite book when you are reading.

By implementing these tips and being consistent with your efforts, you can help your child develop good reading habits that will benefit them for a lifetime.

mom carrying newborn child while reading a book

Josh & Cherie Books believes that it is never too early to start reading to your child. Build your child’s first library with a Josh & Cherie Book subscription, where we deliver a curated box of books to your child monthly. Let us help you nurture your child’s love of reading from young by making reading fun, consistent and affordable!

Find out more about Josh & Cherie Book subscriptions here.


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