A home filled with reading material is a good way to help kids
become enthusiastic (and proficient) readers. What kind of books
should you have? Ask your kids about their interests. If
they're too young to have a preference, your local librarian
can offer suggestions about age-appropriate books.
Here are some other tips:
Keep a varied selection.
Collect board books or books with mirrors and different textures
for babies. Older kids will enjoy variety: fiction, nonfiction, and
poetry plus dictionaries and other reference books.
Kids can understand stories they might not be able to read on
their own. If a more challenging book interests your child, make it
something to read together. Younger kids can look at illustrations
in books and ask questions as they follow along.
And don't limit reading material to books. Kids might also
- magazines (for kids)
- audio books
- postcards from relatives
- photo albums or scrapbooks
- comic books
- the Internet
Keep reading material handy.
Keep sturdy books with other toys for easy exploration. Books near
the changing table and high chair can be helpful distractions for
younger kids at appropriate moments. Plastic books can even go in
the bathtub. Keep books next to comfy chairs and sofas where you
cuddle up so you can read after feedings and naps.
Create a special reading place.
As kids grow, keep age-appropriate books and magazines on shelves
they can reach in their favorite hangouts around the house. Make
these shelves appealing and keep them organized. Place some of the
books with the covers facing out so they're easy to spot. Put a
basket full of books and magazines next to their favorite places to
sit. Create a cozy reading corner, and encourage kids to use it by
setting up "reading corner time" each day.
Keep it appealing.
Make sure reading areas have good lighting. Change the materials
often - add seasonal books, rotate different magazines, and include
books that relate to what kids are interested in or studying in
school. Decorate the corner with your child's artwork or
writing. Place a CD or tape player nearby for audio books.
Encourage kids to create the reading.
Set up a writing and art center and encourage kids to make books,
posters, or collages that they decorate with their own pictures and
writing. Kids love to read things they've written themselves or
to share their creations with family and friends.
Think About Atmosphere
Other ways to encourage kids to read:
- Give your child quiet time every day to read or write.
- Limit time kids spend in front of a screen (including TV,
computer, and video games) to help ensure that they have time for
- Read together. Offer to read a book aloud, or ask your child
to read to you from a favorite magazine. Make a habit of sitting
together while you each read your own books, sharing quiet time
Mary L. Gavin, MD
Date reviewed: February 2007
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice,
diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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