Sparking a Love for Reading

books child centered reading May 29, 2023

Throughout the year it is beneficial for children to maintain consistent, daily reading practices while simultaneously honoring their need for rest and taking a break from daily lessons. While reading for pleasure comes organically to many, for some, it can take more work to spark a love for books and reading. Encouraging children to find books they love, and to read purely for enjoyment is important to cultivate at any age.

There are many ways to foster building a true, lifelong love for reading in children. Here are a few suggestions.

Find Places to Browse
Spending time at a local library, bookstore, or even simply spending an afternoon browsing your family’s bookshelves support enhancing children’s love for books just by exposing them to many different types and genres. Allowing children time to skim through and read parts of books helps them discover what they actually like to read. Make sure to keep browsing low pressure and child-centered. Avoid asking too many questions about what they read and what they thought of each book. Instead, simply let them sift through and, hopefully, get lost in a book or books that they discover!

Encourage Reading Anything
While it can seem like a child isn’t “really” reading if they read the same book over and over again, or if they only read graphic novels, or if they want to read magazines with mostly pictures and captions, the truth is, reading is reading. All of these scenarios help children build their confidence and love for reading, and can also help with skills like vocabulary acquisition and reading fluency. Making space for children to read what they truly enjoy at that moment will allow them to eventually move on to other books and other genres, as they will have found the “spark” from getting to read solely for pleasure.

Read Together
Many children, just like many adults, are more apt to read and stick with reading if it is more of a communal or interactive activity, rather than completely independent. For younger children who are still learning to read, this will likely look like reading a book to them or with them at the same time. For children who are already fluent readers, this could be a family book club, where other family members read the same book as the child and discuss it after reading, whether that is by chapter or at the end of the book. Reading together can also simply be a designated time for the whole family to read in a common space together, even if everyone is reading a different text. It can be helpful to make reading together fun and inviting by creating a cozy space, giving reading time a special name, or including yummy snacks during it!

Books and reading open so many opportunities and worlds to us. Helping children find a love for reading is truly a gift, and one which can and should be encouraged in a child-centered, holistic way.