How To Encourage Your Child To Love Reading

19 practical tips to encourage young and older kids to love reading and to love books.


Start young
Even very young babies love playing with books, being cuddled and having stories read to them.

Keep it fun
Don’t be embarrassed to act out the story or use silly voices and actions. Stop before your child gets bored.

Engage your child with the story
Let them finish the lines, turn the pages, ask and answer questions.

Set an example
Make time to read yourself. Let your child see that you read whether it’s books, newspapers or magazines.

Have books in the house
Keep lots of books in the child’s bedroom and downstairs. O.K. new books can be expensive but you can get them for pennies secondhand at charity shops, school fairs etc.

Join the library
Get your child their own library card (it’s free). Make it a habit to go to the library regularly. Find out if your library holds a weekly story time for young children or “rhythm and rhyme times” for babies and toddlers.

Let your child choose what to read
Don’t insist on educational books. Let them have free reign. Foster their enthusiasm.

Don’t forget non-fiction
Kids often like non-fiction. Your child might prefer books about horses or space. Think about their interests and hobbies – a book on sport or “how to look after a guinea pig” is still a book.

Use technology
Let your child use e-readers or reading apps if that’s what they prefer. Look for games connected to their favourite stories – there are some good ones on the World Book Day website

Combine reading with other activities
Extend the fun of reading with dressing up, acting out scenes, craft activities & drawing. Pretend your living room is a Hogwarts’ commonroom.

Reward the reluctant reader
None of us were ever going to bribe our kids right? Doesn’t work out like that though does it?  Praise them for their efforts. Try using reward charts. Look out for your library’s summer reading scheme. (If all else fails use sweets/Playstation time – sshhh!)

Carry a book with you
Make a habit of keeping a book in your bag to pull out when your child is bored.

Make visiting a bookshop into a treat
Encourage relatives to buy book tokens or use home made “book tokens” as rewards. Then take a trip to a good bookshop. They tend to be very child-friendly these days with colourful displays, reading corners, cushions and toys. Allow your child to take as long as they like to look round the shop and let them choose whichever book takes their fancy.

Look out for book signings
Older kids love meeting celebrities and that includes their favourite author.

Encourage – don’t force!
Don’t force an unwilling child to read. You’ll make matters worse. If they really don’t want to read, look for reading alternatives: reading games, apps etc.

Subscribe to a magazine
Magazines count too. A reluctant book reader might still love the excitement of a football magazine plopping onto the doormat.

Listen to audio books
At home, in the car, on a smartphone or iPod. Libraries lend audio books too.

Let your child read to you
Don’t always take the lead. Even if your toddler can’t read yet and is making the story up, listen enthusiastically. Let your child read to you, to Grandma, to younger siblings, to the dog, to their toys …

Read, read, read, read, read!
Make time for reading to your child and read often – not just at bed time.

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