How To Raise A Reader Starting In The Early Years

  • Post category:Language / Parenting
  • Reading time:10 mins read
  • Post comments:0 Comments
  • Post last modified:December 6, 2023
You are currently viewing How To Raise A Reader Starting In The Early Years

As an avid reader I wanted to instill a love of reading into my own child. Many questions floated through my head about how to raise a reader, most of which you’ve probably had yourself. How do I start? When do I start? What do I do? Well I am here to answer all your questions and help you lay the foundations to a lifelong love of reading.

Do Babies Need Books?

Children don’t just start reading. There are many skills they need to develop before reaching that step, most of which will begin during infancy.

Books are such a crucial part of language development during the early years. Language development begins long before a child says their first word and books are a great way to support it. Books help to build their receptive language skills, expand vocabulary, as well as lay the foundations of literacy. Not to mention it is a great time to begin exposing your child to books to get them interested in stories and reading.

baby reading

The Best Type of Books For Infants

With so many options available it can be overwhelming trying to decide what kinds of books to buy. Here are my recommendations on the best type of books to offer children 0-12 months.

High Contrast: Books with black and white images are essential during a child’s first three months when their eyes and vision are still developing.

Real Images: Books with real images can help a child make associations with the images and items in real life stimulating language development.

Touch and Feel: Infants are sensory learners and using books that engage multiple senses can support their understanding and learning process. Books with sounds and music also offer a sensory experience and are a great addition to a child’s story collection.

The Best Type of Books For Toddlers

As your child enters the toddler years books are still vital to supporting their language development. Additionally children begin to show preferences and start developing their own interest. This is an especially important time to role model a love of reading to inspire your child’s interest in it as well. The following types of books will engage your child and help hold their interest.

toddler reading

Rhyming Stories: Supports prereading skills through phonological awareness (recognizing sounds in words).

Sensory Books: Toddlers will love touch and feel books as they are still using all their senses to explore the world. Books with sound can help them keep engaged and following along with the story.

Interactive: Gets your child engaged through actions which can be a more enjoyable experience, especially for children that don’t like to sit and just listen to stories.

Books with short stories or one word per page can offer more exposure to books through shorter sessions. Toddlers have short attention spans and often don’t want to sit through long stories. Try reading 1-2 shorter books more frequently throughout the day.

Laying The Foundations For a Love of Reading

There are many things you can do at home to encourage your child to become a reader. Many of these begin during the early years before your child can read themselves. The first few years of a child’s life are an important time for creating lifelong habits. If you begin to lay the foundations early and help them develop an interest in stories and books you will help to set them up for success later on.

raise a reader

9 Guidelines To Raise a Reader

1. Start Early

It’s never too early to read stories or look at books with your child. The earlier you start, the more time you can spend building lifelong reading habits. That being said, it’s never too late to start either.

2. Incorporate Reading Into Your Routine

Make it part of your daily routine to offer consistency and repeated exposure. I like to start our day with a story, we often use them for transitions and our bedtime routine ends with stories as well. Try different things and see what works for you.

3. Start Small

One book a day is fine. If you miss a day that’s okay too. Don’t overthink it.

family story time

4. Read It Again

Children will want to read the same book over and over and over again. There is a lot of repetition during the early years. A child likes to read the same book repeatedly because they want to learn more from it and it helps them better understand. Or maybe they just really like to story.

5. Be A Role Model

One of the best ways to get your child to enjoy reading is to let them see you enjoying reading as well. Let them see you reading and enjoying books. Children want to be doing what the adults around them are doing.

6. Surround Them With Books

Have books easily accessible to your child. Keep them in multiple locations in your home where your child get them. Visit your library for a fun outing and borrow some books.

7. Make It Fun

If your child isn’t interested in reading, forcing them to sit while you read them a book isn’t going to help. Have fun, be playful and enjoy story time together. Interactive books such as Tap the Magic Tree by Christie Matheson are a great way to add some playfulness. You can even try bookish play.

reading together

8. Bookish Play

Add books to enhance your child’s play and further spark their interest in books. Choose a book and use it as inspiration for an activity. While they play, you can read the book to them. An example would be combining a book about construction with construction trucks and blocks.

9. Read Stories You Enjoy

While choosing books that interest your child are important, it can be equally important to choose books you like as well. You may be reading it multiple times and if it’s one you don’t like your child may pick up on that while reading. Get into the story and share your enjoyment with your child.

Remember introducing books to your child early can set them up for success later. Even though your child is not yet reading you can begin to create lifelong habits that will spark an interest in reading.

child reading

Some people are readers and some aren’t. Everyone’s interests vary. While you can try these guidelines to inspire a love of reading in your child, it’s not a guarantee they will grow into avid readers themselves. And that’s okay. Most children love listening to stories but some may grow out of that as they get older. As I said, every individual has their own interests.

It doesn’t matter if you only read a single page or your child just wants to flip the pages back and forth. As long as it is a positive experience for your child it can help create a love of reading.

Leave a Reply