We’ve heard it again and again that the best gift we can give to our children is the love of reading. But what can parents do to make kids enjoy reading and enjoy books? There are so many ways, and every parent is doing it differently. Here are some we’ve done that worked well for us. I’d love to hear your ideas and the books you used.
How to Help Kids Enjoy Books at a Young Age
Start from a young age: start reading when babies are just born. Some mothers started reading to their little ones even when they were still in mommy’s tummy. Although babies may not understand the words and the meaning, they will gradually get the idea that things on the books are interesting. There are many books designed for babies, like this Baby’s Very First Noisy Nursery Rhymes.
Role play the Story: many story books have interesting characters. After you read once with the kids, you can assign characters to each person in the family to act out a scene from the book. For young children, pick some scenes with simple lines, such as 1 to 2 sentences for kids’ roles. You do want to make sure to pick the characters and stories that kids like. A good book for this is A Tale of Two Beasts. It tells a story from two characters’ different perspectives, wonderful for kids to act out and to integrate the two sides of the story together.
Use books that enlist all senses: hear the sounds, smell the things mentioned in the books, touch and feel the texture of the objects mentioned in the book, … all these will enhance kids’ understanding of the book and be more interested in learning more. A good example is That’s Not My Puppy. Kids read the book and feel the textures. Any child will love turning the pages to meet a number of different fun-to-touch puppies.
Use books that involve actions: Lift flap books and pop-up books are great at capturing kids’ curiosity and encouraging exploration. Some good examples are Lift the Flap Word Book. Kids will be intrigued to know what is the next word and keep opening up the flaps to learn new words. Other examples are Busy Town and Busy Farm. Every page kids turn will bring up a new part of the town or farm standing up right in front of them.
Activity books, such as sticker books, coloring books, are also great choices. Does your child like robots? Try this Build Your Own Robots Sticker Book. Kids will read about different robots, and then build their own with the stickers in the book.
Use book apps with multimedia features, especially non-fiction books: many book apps or online eBooks include multimedia contents, and many even offer free books for kids. With audio, video and interactive features, these books make the reading and learning more fun and easier to understand.
Have books around the house all the time: the more you make the books available and the more the kids see the books, the more they are going to grab them and check them out. Make sure you have books in every room and place the books at the height that kids can see. Where do you get good kids books? Most book stores have kids book sections. Many online books sellers also have kids sections.
If you are looking for books for older kids, here are some good ones Architecture Books Taking Kids Travel the World.