Noel Piper tells the story of one of her sons really enjoying the books The Cross and the Switchblade and Run, Baby, Run. This son did not generally like reading, so it was especially exciting that he had gotten into these stories. When he finished both books, he went to the library and asked if the librarian could direct him to more stories that he might enjoy. She asked him what he liked and he replied, “Christian books about gang warfare.”
Encouraging your children in their own peculiar interests and making sure they know the neighborhood librarian are two ways to help them enjoy reading. Kathy Zahler compiles a list of other strategies in her book 50 Simple Things You Can Do to Raise a Child Who Loves to Read.
Here's a list of 25 ways to help your child love to read adapted from Zahler's 50.
- Teach your child to read.
- Let your child see you read.
- Read aloud.
- Encourage your kids to read aloud to you and to each other.
- Ask your children to retell for you the stories they've read.
- Have pre-readers “tell the story” from pictures.
- Help your children evaluate stories.
- Connect stories to children's lives.
- Encourage identification with characters.
- Make connections between books.
- Share with your family from your own reading.
- Recommend beloved books.
- Own books your child will want to read.
- Go to the library regularly.
- Take books with you when you travel.
- Suggest practical reasons for reading.
- Send kids to books for answers to their questions.
- Help your children find books that encourage them in their interests.
- Provide a home environment conducive to reading.
- Use TV wisely if you must use it at all.
- Increase your child's real-life experiences.
- Work with your child's teacher.
- Expect great things for and from your kids.
- Recognize differences among your children.
- Take delight in words and let that delight show.
And, above all, let's take delight in the Word and let that delight show.