A friend wrote on her blog that her son stated that he “hated books,” I was going to reply but figured I had such a long response I might as well turn it into a blog post here. So here is hoping she will read it with my tips on how to get kids to love books. At least it worked for my own kids.
My boys love books, we have biweekly library visits where we go and hang out at the library for an hour picking out books.
It’s a small library so I usually have between 10-15 holds for M1 and I and then M2 chooses his books while he’s there. I have almost 40 books out, no I don’t read them all, but they’re there if either boys want to read/flip through them. I don’t force anyone to read, but we do read every single day several times a day. I ask them to bring books to me which I gladly read aloud, even with M1 who is able to read the books himself prefers to have me read to him.
When we’re choosing books at the library, my son must choose books about science, history, and art (artist/composer biographies). This ensures that he’s exposed to a good variety of books and that we’re not just reading comic books all day.
So why do my boys love books? From when the boys were babies, I’ve read to them. I’m not creative and don’t come up with my own stories so I have to turn to books. Here are my ideas in creating a book loving environmentl
How to get kids to love books
First and foremost, turn OFF the TV.
If there’s a choice between TV and books, the child will likely choose to passively sit in front of the TV in a mindless fog then pick up a book to read. Have you ever tried to have a conversation with a child while they’re staring at the TV? It just doesn’t happen. Here we’ve decided that all computer/TV time will not occur until all school work is completed and then M1 gets 20 minutes of computer time, and both boys will watch 30 minutes of TV. Find what works for you and your family. What about when you want to watch TV. I don’t. I have shows that I follow ie. Greys Anatomy, Big Bang Theory, and Criminal minds but I watch online once the kids are asleep, it’s way better, fewer commercials and less interruptions anyways. The best part about not watching TV is that they’re not exposed to commercials, I was always hearing oh I want this and that at everything that popped up, now not at all.
Read, read, and read some more
Read aloud to them when you can even when they’re old enough to read the themselves. This way you can discuss what you’re reading together. Read before bed, my boys never want to go to sleep so they keep asking to read more books.
Let them see you read, let them see how much you enjoy books yourself. I usually have two books going a non-fiction and a fiction book going so that I can read depending on what mood I’m in. You cannot ask your kids to stay off the TV or computer if you spend all of your time on there as well.
Find what interests them
M2 is really into ocean animals and wild cats so we take out non-fiction books with lots of pictures. M1 is into war and weapons, not surprisingly, but he’s been reading a lot about north American Indians since we read The Indian in the Cupboard. Find what subjects they are really into and take it from there. My history buff loves weaving through history on rabbit trails. We went from North American Indians to specific tribes to Canada and then to teepees. It can be never ending and the child just absorbs everything.
Listen to audiobooks
If you don’t have the time to read aloud to your kids, make use of audiobooks, we borrow our audiobooks for free from the library or we find them on Youtube. There great to listen to during lunch or during quiet time in the afternoon.
Make books fun
Give them as gifts/rewards for things they’ve accomplished. My boys get so many toys from their aunts and uncles so that we always end up getting them books/educational items for Christmas/birthdays which they enjoy just as much.
A friend asked me what I do with the children if the TV is turned off, I said nothing. You’d be surprised what boys come up with when they’re playing. They build forts, play with their play dough, make weapons, and build with their legos. M2 loves to colour, which is surprising since M1 was never into colouring.
What do you do to help your kids love books?