boy readingWhen a student says, “I don’t like books” or “I hate reading”, my response? You just haven’t found the right book yet! The key to creating readers is to find what interests each particular child – and give ample opportunities to read. Reading should be cherished and time to read created – and made fun. Make a visit to the book store or library a privilege, a family outing. Seek out author visits, special events and reading reward programs. Best of all? You can find most events through libraries and book stores that are FREE – offering inexpensive family fun – take advantage…and watch your child’s love of reading grow.

So how do you create a reading addict? Here are a few suggestions:

First and foremost, set a good example! Parents should be the reading model for their children. Keep lots of books and various reading material around your house. Turn off the TV and designate reading time in your home.

Find reading material that fits your child’s interest – do they play sports? Cheerleading? In the band? Do you have animal lovers? Crafty critters? What do they spend their time doing, what do they love and what excites them? I assure you, there’s a book about it!

Be in the book know. Read the same book as your child / teen so that you can have fun discussions about it. This helps them to work on comprehension – you could even create a parent child book club! An added bonus? You’ll know what your child’s reading, gain an insight to their likes and dislikes AND you’ll be reading the same book, so if the book contains something you disagree with, whether it be morally/spiritually – you’ll find it because YOU’RE reading it!

Read aloud together every day. Add fun by reading outdoors , at a park, in various rooms around the house – and don’t forget to let your children read to you! Encourage them to ask questions and interject…get their imaginations flowing!

Purchase magazine subscriptions in your child’s name, like Sports Illustrated for Kids, Highlights for Children, or National Geographic World. Encourage older children to read the newspaper and current events magazines. You can even subscribe to some magazines for free, such as Lego Club (you can find it in the “free reading” section of the website. Magazine subscriptions make GREAT year long gifts – and they can be used after they’re read…for school projects and crafts!

Take your children to Book stores and libraries as fun outings – it makes for a great family outing and is often FREE.

Telling the kids their bed time is at 7:30 – when you really don’t mind if it’s 8 allowing them time to read in bed. They are happy to stay up “late” in bed to read!

Place books in all areas of your home – sitting around in baskets, on book shelves and out as displays on tables or even between book ends on dressers and night stands. It’s always a good idea to have books in your purse and/or car for times when you get caught in traffic or have to wait at the doctor’s office.

Create a COMFY reading place in your home or their rooms – one that is a special place to cuddle up with a good book.

Purchase or make your child book plates. Personalizing a book with a sticker or name label creates a sense of pride and belonging – and also helps when a favorite book is lost at school or a friend’s.

And most importantly, make reading a privilege, not a requirement. If you make a child read “for pleasure” in order to earn TV time, toys, gaming time, etc…you will only create a resentment for reading that will build over time. Most adults who do not enjoy reading, my husband included, have been forced as a child to read material they did not choose in order to “earn” time doing things they DID enjoy. THIS is never the answer.

Remember…read to succeed…it truly is the key to knowledge.