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Developing a Love of Reading in Your Children

Written by Cara Putman

Written by Cara Putman @ Caraputman.com

Periodically I get asked questions about how my children became lovers of books. Look for several posts that address what I did, starting with tiny kids otherwise known as infants and toddlers.

1) When my kiddos are infants I started by reading to them any moment we were sitting down. Before they could sit up or hold the book, we’d cuddle in a rocking chair with a pile of board books. There are an amazing assortment of books, but here are a few I love to this day: 

  • Goodnight Moon, 
  • Guess How Much I Love You,
  • Dr. Seuss’ A, B, C
  • Barnyard Dance, and 
  • Beatrice Potter stories.

2)  As their attention spans increased, we started taking trips to the library. We’d bring home books and books and more books. We moved to picture books. A discovery we made with the help of a librarian are the Iza Trapani books. These are beautifully illustrated with delightful characters. They each start with a well-loved nursery rhyme that the author spins off in delightful directions. Particular favorites are Row, Row, Row Your BoatHow Much is that Doggie in the Window, and Baa, Baa Black Sheep. Of course, I have to sing these, which adds to the fun. 


3) Discover the classics together. Books like Make Way for DucklingsBlueberries for Sal, Madeleine, Curious George, Dr. Seuss. There are a reason these books are still being read. Look for books with great illustrations as they excite your child’s imagination and encourage them to retell the stories by reading the pictures. 

4) Engage in the story. Interact with it by using different voices for different characters. Read with lots of inflection. Your kids will pick up on that when they start reading. 

5) Surround your young children with books. Show them you love to read by example. And keep introducing them to books. The book my twelve year old is inhaling this week is one I’ve offered to her for two years. Now the time is right and she’ll fly through the series in a week. So I’m learning to keep offering and surround them with great books. 

How did you introduce children to reading? Any tips to share with us? 

About the author

Cara Putman

Cara Putman proudly calls Nebraska the home of her roots. She grew up running around the family farm her grandmother still lives on and making onion rings and Runzas at four different Runzas her family opened across the state. After graduating with honors from the University of Nebraska, she moved to Washington, D.C., where she worked in the non-profit arena and attended George Mason Law School. An attorney, author of 17 books with more on the way, and lecturer at Purdue University, Cara lives in Indiana with her husband and four kids. You can learn more about Cara and her books at http://www.caraputman.com, http://www.facebook.com/caraputman, http://twitter.com/cara_putman, and http://pinterest.com/caraputman.


  • I incorporated all of your suggestions in our home. We also use a literature-based homeschool curriculum which I love. I take advantage of books on CD for my one child who is more of an audio learner. I recently took a job at our local library and love being surrounded by books. They make me happy. 🙂