Article at a Glance

  • Begin exposing your children to books when they are babies.
  • Provide a selection of different kinds of books and reading material.
  • Make reading attractive by making it a special activity and showing a good example.

According to studies, raising children who love to read has all sorts of benefits. It improves vocabularies, results in better grades, and can even increase your child’s chances of getting a better job later in life. A study from Oxford University showed that people who read while in their teens are more likely to have a professional or managerial position when they are in their 30’s.

So how do you get your children to read? Exposure, exposure, exposure. Studies have shown that the key to getting your children to read is to expose them to reading at home. Here are some tips on making your home reader friendly.

Start Early

Children can develop the skills needed to sit down and enjoy a book at a very early age. Anybody who has seen a toddler with an iPad can attest that familiarity breeds competency. Have plenty of board books and other visually interesting books on hand where your little one can enjoy them. Mix them in with the toys, keep them in the car, or store some by the changing table or crib.

Younger babies are particularly drawn to books with simple, geometric, black and white illustrations. Older babies like books with pictures of other babies, different textures, and mirrors. At this age, it is a little scary to give a baby a library book, but lots of libraries have a second-hand shop where you can pick up used books for great prices.

According to the Educational Testing Service, the more types of reading materials provided in the home, the higher students scored in reading proficiency. Experts recommend having plenty of fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and reference books available for your children. But reading isn’t just about books. It is a great idea to give your children access to magazines, newspapers, audio books, the Internet, and even comic books.

Reading out loud can also expose your children to books that they might not be able to read on their own yet. Reading a more challenging book together is a great way to build your child’s vocabulary and reading comprehension. Plus, it can be a lot of fun to hear their questions and insights.

Make it Fun
Show your children how much you enjoy reading and make it a special experience for them. Great memories can be made of snuggling together before bedtime with a book or reading to your children while the family does the dishes. If the choice is between reading for five more minutes or going to sleep, most children will pick reading!

Find out what your children are interested in. Learning more about a favorite subject can often encourage hesitant readers. If your child is interested in volcanoes, dirt biking or frogs, take them to the library to find out more about the subject.

Work together to create a special reading corner. Comfy chairs, special lighting, and a fresh supply of interesting books can be irresistible to even the youngest readers. For little readers, using baskets instead of shelving can make it easier to pull books out and put them away. Keep some books out at eye level where their covers can be easily seen. As they say, out of sight, out of mind. Let your children help decorate the reading corner by adding their artwork or whatever else inspires them.

Making Time
With busy schedules, TV, soccer practice, and video games, it can be hard to find the quiet time needed for reading. Try setting aside some time each day for reading. And set a good example by reading with your children. You can either read out loud or spend some quiet time together reading your own books. In a pinch, have some books available in the car for your children to read while running errands. Audio books are also a great option for in the car. Check some out from the library or have grandparents and other relatives record themselves reading some of their favorite children books. Your children will love hearing their voices. is also a great resource. It provides free audio books from the public domain.

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Raising Good Readers Begins at Home

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