Don’t get stuck on making your kids read for educational purposes.

Justin Colussy-Estes, manager at Little Shop of Stories in Decatur, says, “One of the things we always try to steer toward is ‘reading something is better than reading nothing.’ We try and steer away from ‘nutritional’ attitudes toward books.” Colussy-Estes cites one of his favorite examples, when popular children’s author Jerry Spinelli visited several years ago: “He said all he read through high school were sports magazines. And now he’s famous for writing numerous children’s books.” What your children read is not as important as the fact they are reading.

Incorporate activities that go along with what your children are reading.

If they’re visiting outer space in a book, make a fun, messy papier-mâché craft of the solar system, or watch a space movie. Camp outside and incorporate stargazing (search online for when planets are visible in the night sky).

Start early.

Read to your children when they are small to promote family time, word recognition and comprehension, and maybe, just maybe, a love of books. Whenever possible, read in such a way that the book scenes and characters come alive. Or try audio books, which usually have a dynamic reader.

Get books on subjects they’re already interested in.

Does your child love superheroes, princesses, dinosaurs, tea parties or a cartoon character? Use that to help you find books that he or she is more likely to want to read. Take children to the library or bookstore, letting them browse and choose what they would like to have.

Schedule time around activities to sit down and share a book

or read different books, but in the same room. Family-wide quiet time is often a rarity, but it doesn’t have to be if you put it on the calendar. Turn off all the electronics and unplug for a while.

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