Order Soon for Christmas Delivery!🎄 ➔

Creating strong reading habits for your kids doesn’t have to be a battle. Here are a few tips to help create a love of reading in your children: 

It’s Never Too Early to Start. Start reading to your kids from day one whether they are actively paying attention or not. It’s wonderful for their growing vocabulary and it allows for reading to become a part of their routine. 

Read Every Day. Whether it’s re-reading a favorite book or going through a short story, read to your children every day. And get them involved! Let them pick the books and turn the pages. Ask them questions about the pictures or make up new endings and twists together. Even if you don’t read a single word that’s actually written on the page, talking about what you see helps your kids to not only strengthen their imagination but also realize the fun that can be found in story time.

Fill Their Lives with Books. In order to make reading a part of their daily life, they need to have things around them to read. Newspapers, comics, magazines and books of all subjects give them a wide range of options. Make reading a part of your home by having reading material all around it.

Let Them See You Reading. Whether it’s the newspaper, a magazine or the latest novel, show your kids that reading is a part of your life too. It’s not just a homework assignment that they have to check off, it’s a part of your routine and a way to grow, learn and relax. Talk to them about the latest story you read or interesting fact you learned to highlight your own interest.

Have Them Choose What They Want to Read. Does your son only want to read comic books? Let him. Once any assigned homework is complete, let your kids fulfill their reading time with things that they love. No matter the form, they are still getting practice time in, expanding their vocabulary and growing their love for reading. Forcing them to only read certain types of books or a from a limited list ensures that they will feel like they are completing a chore or task. You want to allow them the chance to take their time and enjoy the process instead of rushing through to complete what you are ‘making them’ do. 

Take Them to the Library and to Book Stores Often. Making it a date or a special trip focuses on reading being something that is fun and a part of daily life. Incorporate it into your schedule or create a new tradition that they will look forward to doing.

Continue Reading Out Loud. Even when your child is able to read for themselves, continue reading out loud to them. Maybe you can tackle a larger novel together and switch off reading pages, or maybe it’s just a quick funny story before bedtime. Your kids will continue to learn and grow by listening to the way you emphasize certain sections or pronounce new words they haven’t yet mastered.

Don’t Reward for Completed Items, Praise for Effort Seen. Many times it can be tempting to entice a reluctant reader by promising rewards for completed books, but by doing so you are strengthening their belief that reading is a means to an end. Instead, praise them for the time and effort they are putting into the content and show genuine interest in what they are reading. By taking the time to ask questions and discuss their current story, you are creating an opportunity to bond, reinforcing the idea that reading is interesting and helping them with their comprehension skills. 

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available for pre-order now!

Pre-Order Now

Amy Bellows

Amy Bellows, Ph.D. is a freelance writer living in the Midwest with her husband and their 3 children. She currently juggles the roles of wife, mom, step-mom, and a full-time corporate career while squeezing in writing between hockey practices and late night feedings. You can find her at http://continuedoptimism.com/ or on Twitter.

Don’t Fear the Gap

In: Baby, Kids, Motherhood
Baby lying on mother's chest, black-and-white photo

I was afraid of the gap. You know, the one where you have some kids and then wait several years to have another? That gap. When we moved here, we kept all the baby things because we weren’t ready to say we were done but weren’t ready to start over. Moving to the farm brought wayyy more chores than our neighborhood home and adding a tiny human to that mix felt a bit crazy. RELATED: I’ll Always Want Another Baby There were months of back and forth . . . talk of barefoot baby feet stomping all over this place...

Keep Reading

Dear Daughter, If Something Feels Off, It Probably Is—Trust Your Intuition

In: Kids, Living, Motherhood
Mother and daughter black and white photo

A few weeks ago, my 7-year-old daughter was playing at a friend’s house when she messaged me on her game tablet to come pick her up. I didn’t ask why I just went to get her. I asked her once she was home how it was, and she told me she had a weird feeling and she was just “trusting her guts,” which I loved hearing her say. Apparently, her friend had a bunch of extended family show up at the house that we were unaware of. She is extremely outgoing, friendly, and confident so she thought nothing of listening...

Keep Reading

10 Lessons I Hope You Learn Playing Youth Sports

In: Kids, Motherhood
Boy dribbling down basketball court, black-and-white photo

Last night was my sixth grader’s last basketball game of the season. He played with many of the same gang of boyhood friends he has known since kindergarten. This year, however, they were introduced to a traveling team, older players, and much stiffer competition than they had encountered in the past. They stood the test and played their little boy hearts out. I am proud of my son, his team, his coaches, and all the familiar faces we came to know in the Greenwood Laboratory School cheering section each week, sometimes two to three times in one week!  Here’s to...

Keep Reading

I Love You At Every Stage

In: Kids, Motherhood
Three children at park, color photo

Confession: I love the 1-year-old phase. Our youngest is one and such a joy to be around. He’s still so cuddly, finds such joy in the smallest things, is learning new things every day, and smiles at every little thing his big brother and sister do. I love the 3-year-old phase. Our only girl is three. She has a flair for the dramatic, but she is very forthright with her feelings. “I’m having a hard time.” “I just miss my daddy when he’s at the Fire House.” “I’m a princess.” “God made me beautiful.” She is quick to be a...

Keep Reading

Simple Moments Shape Childhood

In: Kids, Motherhood
Little boy in shallow water of beach

Sometimes it’s the little things that can turn out to be the biggest things. Motherhood has made me appreciate the everyday moments, the simple moments, differently.  Being outdoors with my boys can be simple in theory, but I absolutely love the adventures we take. Whether we are hiking, biking, swimming, exploring, or checking out a new park, this momma knows it is time well spent.  RELATED: I’m Watching You Grow Up in the Little Moments Because whether they realize it or not, these memories being made are the special ones. The ones my boys will carry with them in their...

Keep Reading

I Promise to Show Up for You

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and daughter in garden

My child, I hope you know you can count on this: I will show up for you. I will show up when you wake in the middle of the night, when you get up too early or stay up too late. I will be there to make your meals, read you a story, and tuck you into bed. I will show up when you are sick—taking time off work, bringing you to the doctor, cleaning up your throw-up, and sitting up with you. I will show up at every game, sitting in the stands or a camp chair, freezing or...

Keep Reading

Sometimes Growth Is Tangible, and When It Is You Hold On Tight

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mom putting bike helmet on child

I never expected my sign to come in the form of a plastic bag. As a parent, you’re told over and over how fast it all goes, to cherish these times because they’re gone in a blink. You see the gradual changes in your kids as they move through milestones. One day, they can hold their own spoon. They begin stringing words into sentences. Their ages are counted in years and no longer months. You watch these things happen every day, but I didn’t realize some transitions would come in tangible ways, like a grocery bag filled with wet swim...

Keep Reading

Some Nights They Need You a Little More

In: Kids, Motherhood
Little boy sleeping, color photo

Some nights they need you a little more, mama. Because of the bad dreams or the bogeyman they are adamant is under the bed. Because firefighter daddy’s schedule leaves him missing goodnight tuck-ins and bedtime stories several times a week, sometimes leaving them a little needier and more emotional. Some nights they need you a little more, mama. RELATED: I’ll Lay With You As Long As You Need, My Child Because they are sick. Because they feel safe in your presence. Some nights they need you a little more, mama. It’s not always easy. It’s not always (okay, hardly ever)...

Keep Reading

Sweet Babies, I’ll Be There

In: Kids, Motherhood
Two children lying in bed, color photo

When your world is calm and peaceful, I’ll be there. When your world is chaotic like an ice cream shop on the hottest day of summer, I’ll be there. When you need a Band-Aid applied and a boo-boo kissed, I’ll be there. When you want to perform in your Frozen microphone like you’re performing for a crowd of 20,000 people, I’ll be there. When you feel lost and alone, I’ll be there. When you feel you have nowhere to go, I’ll be there. RELATED: I Will Always Be There When You Need Me, My Son When you need a pep...

Keep Reading

I’m in the Big Little Years

In: Kids, Motherhood
black and white photo of little boy and little girl standing in a window together

I’m in the big little years. It’s when you’re no longer in the tender season of babies and toddlers—those sweet, smothering, exhausting years of being constantly touched and needed . . . . . . but you’re not yet in the big kid years—navigating boyfriends and driver’s licenses and bracing your heart for the impending ache of an empty nest. I’m somewhere in between. I’m in the years of having littles that aren’t so little anymore, but still need you for so much. They have big feelings. Big ideas. Big dreams. But they have mostly little problems (even though they...

Keep Reading