Want to teach your littles to love reading? Instilling a love of reading from an early age has many benefits — from expanding their vocabulary to boosting their brain development. Luckily, you can do many easy things every day to get your children interested in books from a young age.
We connected with Jessica Sesto, a former early childhood educator who writes the blog Eat Play Read, to get her advice on how parents can encourage their children to learn about books and fall in love with reading!
Try her four tips on how to get your child interested in reading:
Make books available
One of the easiest ways to encourage your child to become interested in books is to make them available. Put books out in multiple areas of your home (and even your car!) to promote curiosity in your little one and get them used to having books in their hands!
Some areas we have books in our home include: in our children's bedrooms, in the living room, in the playroom, next to the potty, and even waterproof books in the bathtub. Even before your child can learn to pick up a book, having these books in their environment will get them curious about them. If your child has a sibling, it also promotes opportunities to get even more exposure to books when an older sibling is reading them!
Surround them with print
When you think of reading, your first thought is probably BOOKS. But books aren't the only type of print your child sees in their everyday environment! As you go through your daily activities, point out words on posters, recipe cards, ingredients on packaging, road signs, menus, and envelopes in the mail. Incorporating a few of these items into your child's play is an easy way to get them involved in learning concepts of print. A favorite in our household is using extra takeout menus in the play kitchen area! You can also laminate these for longer use.
Choose interactive books
Kids naturally love to help, so they feel part of the reading process when they are active participants in a story. Interactive books such as lift-the-flap, look and find, peek-through, and sensory books are all highly engaging for little readers. Another simple way to bring books to life is through the way you read them. Get your children excited about reading by sounding excited yourself! Use different tones and voices for various characters. Turn the pages at different speeds for anticipation and have silly reactions when appropriate in the story.
Read together… and let them see you reading too!
Reading together usually takes place near bedtime, but it can happen any time of day. Even if you can't drop what you are doing and read with your children, leading by example makes a difference. Keep books around and let your little ones see you read in your day-to-day life -- it'll encourage them to become readers themselves. Point out signs you pass while driving in the car or the aisle descriptions hanging from the ceiling of the grocery store. Let them see you reading for fun, reading a recipe, reading a bill…you name it! When children see that you use print for a purpose, they will see the value of reading independently.
Are you ready to read with your little ones? Snuggle up in your favorite Little Sleepies and read together. If you’re looking for more resources, be sure to check out Jessica’s reading resources website or @eat_play_read on Instagram. And, be sure to share your cozy reading photos in your Little Sleepies with us!