Updated: Jul 14, 2022
Reading Books: Our secret (and not so secret)tips and tricks on how I got my kids to love books!
"Read to Bloom" illustrated reading challenge poster by Birgitta Sif
Summer reading is a great time to reset your reading rhythm. What I found the most important is to be kind and understanding of each readers level and not to pressure or put our expectations of reading on anyone. And to never compare one reader's journey to another. It's not a race or a goal to reach but rather a joy to learn. With our ever busy and buzzing lives I've found that it's more and more important to find ways to incorporate books into that rhythm.
I've collected some useful tips and ways that my family find in including books and reading in our life.
Tip #1 - Make finding new books fun
Have weekly book rhythm- go to the library often. Make an effort to say hello to the librarian or check out what the local library summer reading programs are! Stop at the charity shop and let your kids pick out a book. Charity shops can be easier on your wallet and help you to buy books often.
Tip #2 - Pick a spot for current books.
Have a crate or basket for summer/current books. Minimizing the amount of books to choose from can help to focus a reader to the books they are currently reading.
Tip #3 - Family reading time
Have everyone in your family grab a book, yes- you too! Sit in the same room and read! Simple! We started this way before my girls could read, so this is not a tip just for older children. If your children are younger, have them pick out a selection of books and encourage quiet time where they can flip through the pages and explore their books. Being together and reading at the same time is such a joy! Try it!
Tip #4 - Give books as presents.
Have your child help to find a special book to give for the next birthday party. Maybe a little note inside, saying how much you loved the book and hope they do, too! My girls love giving their favourite books to friends! It'll encourage them to get excited about sharing books! There are so many kinds of books out there that you're bound to find a perfect one for each person! How fun to think about what type of book they might like.
Extra tip: Skip party bags and give books instead! A friend of mine did this at their wedding, too! It was brilliant- he gave all the kids a book!
Tip #5 - Family dinner book talk
"Take and interest in what your child is reading"
Prompt a dinner conversation about everyone's current book reads. Ask about characters in the book they are reading. Do they remind them of anyone in their life? What did they like about the book? How did it make them feel?What did they find interesting about the book they read. Would they recommend it to others, and why or why not? Encourage them to ask you about your book, too!
Tip #6 - Read a book out-loud together
This is something that may seem obvious. However, as our kids grow older reading out loud is something
we do less together. But the bond you have when you read together is equally as needed when they are older. The importance of reading together is that you can talk about subjects as they come up, stop as children have questions and experience a story together. Which is so wonderful!
Extra tip: if you'd prefer, pick a book with your child, get 2 copies at the library and read alongside them. It might help a reluctant reader if you do it together.
Tip #7 - Read in front of your child
Grab your book and read, too. If they see you do it, they are much more likely to do it themselves. Simple.
Tip #8 - Any reading is good reading
Let your child pick the books they want to read. If they are choosing and having control, it is more likely they will have motivation to do it and learn to love to read. My daughter went through every children's graphic novel that our local library had, before she moved on to longer books. Some of my favourite reads this past year have been graphic novels!
See below for some of our current favourite graphic novels!
Tip #9 - Reward
If your child finishes a book, remember to reward them in one way or another. Celebrate the small victories of reading by letting your child know how special it is! The other day my daughter read a book that was over 400 pages and we took her out for a cake, which is not something we do often, so it was very special for her. Feeling proud of your reading is a big motivator in getting children to cultivate their love of books. Note, of course not every book read needs a reward- so pick your key victories to celebrate!
Remember: You must cultivate it and give it time. Rarely is a child able to play the violin without practice and time, and it is not until they hear the beautiful music that the true love is gained. The same goes for reading.
Tip #10 - Reading Challenge
Now for my SPECIAL TIP!! Make reading fun. I've made an illustrated reading poster with 12 challenges that you can find on my website here called READ TO BLOOM.
As you complete each challenge you get to add more colour to the poster! How fun!
For example: When you read a book that someone else picks for you, you get to colour in everything you feel should be dark red! And so on! How fun!
There are 12 challenges to do and this can be used for any age! Once completed you will have a beautiful poster called "Read to Bloom"! Hang it up with pride to show your amazing reading accomplishments! Or better yet, start again!
It's been a great motivator for my girls to read more! And really fun to find new ways to be excited about books!
I have a few available as A2 posters or you can get the digital download and have it printed as an A2 size poster at your local printer/ staples. Ask for an engineering print and it'll only cost you couple of pounds! SO FUN!
Read read read
These tips are just reminders of simple ways to add reading and books into your family life. Even
just adding one of these tips will support your child's reading. Have reading be part of your family's rhythm in your own way, whatever suits your family. And don't forget to get your reading challenge for your kids here: Click Here. I'd love you to leave a comment below adding your best reading tips!
-Print the downloaded challenge here
-My new book Crimson Twill is now out and published by Candlewick Press in the USA.
-Some of the books we're reading/ loved!
-Birgitta Sif books