Photo by Jason Crawley

Educators can’t say enough about the importance of learning to read – and loving to read. Reading is the foundation for academic and career success. It opens windows on real or imaginary worlds, and gives us access to worlds and worlds of information. Over the years, Atlanta Parent’s November issues have focused on great children’s books, and on helping children develop a love of reading. Here are 20 strategies* to make sure your child enjoys reading:

Traditional Methods

Read to your children as soon as they can sit in your lap.

Read to your child every day; even just 10 minutes will make a difference. Talking about a book you’ve just read together will enrich your child’s experience.

Read and reread books to younger children; repetition makes books predictable and lets young children develop a sense of mastery over books.

Encourage your children to read aloud and to share an interesting passage from a book, part of a newspaper article or even a joke.

Extend your child’s positive reading experiences – if your child enjoyed a book on dinosaurs, take him to a natural history museum or find another book or DVD to share.

Limit TV watching and other screen time to make more time for books. But TV programs based on books or reading-linked children’s programs may encourage reading.

Leave notes for your children, tucked in their lunch box or under their pillow or taped to their mirror.

For birthdays or other occasions, give books and magazines based on your child’s interests.

Attend story time with your children at libraries or bookstores.

Keep books in the car for reading, or for taking along when you know you’ll be sitting in a waiting room.

Help your children find books they enjoy that are tailored to their interests, even if they’re comic books.
Help older children find a series that excites them; when a child gets hooked on one book, he’ll read the next one in the series.

Set up a reading reward program; for instance, 30 minutes of reading earns 30 minutes of extra playtime.

Don’t stop reading to your child once they are old enough to read themselves; most children can read independently by fourth grade, but listening skills develop at different levels.

Make time to read yourself and let your children see you reading and enjoying a book.


Nontraditional Ideas

Not all reading takes place between the covers of a book. Take advantage of opportunities during the day and read menus, road signs, billboards and food labels.

Place magazines around the house that cover topics your child is interested in.

Hide an object your child uses every day, then create a scavenger hunt with clues the child must read before he can find the item.

Buy a brownie mix and have your child read the directions to bake brownies.

Turn your child’s writing and drawings into a homemade book he’ll want to read and share with others.

*Strategies were compiled from these November issues: 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2005, 2003 and 1999.


Best Books of 2013

Click here for a list of the best books for Baby

Click here for a list of the best books for Preschool to Early Elementary

Click here for a list of the best books for Pre-K to Elementary School

Click here for a list of the best books for Older Kids


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