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. 

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 or on Twitter.