Help your child develop a love of reading with these easy tips
1. Resurrect the read-aloud.
Reading out loud is not simply a stepping-stone to learning to read silently; it’s also a way to build vocabulary, attention skills, and comprehension, as well as–perhaps most important–a love of reading. If you’re already doing the one-on-one bedtime story, think about ways to switch up the sessions: Read over breakfast. Encourage siblings to read out loud to each other or to the family pet. Alternate pages or chapters with your child. Or gather the whole family together for a group read-aloud.
2. Take it on the road.
Books are the ultimate portable entertainment–they’re durable and impervious to a few drips of water (at least the non-electronic variety), and easy to read in the sunlight. Keep a chapter book in your bag to pull out while you’re waiting at a restaurant, sitting poolside or on the beach, hanging out in a tree house, or while camping in a tent with a flashlight.
3. Bring stories to life.
Read horse books before your child goes to horseback-riding camp, Little House on the Prairie before you tour a pioneer village, a bio of a favorite baseball or football player before you visit a sports hall of fame.
4. Be a reading buddy.
If you see your child reading when you aren’t, grab your own book and cozy up (well, as close as he’ll let you) to read beside him. Prefer a scheduled approach? Try DEAR–Drop Everything and Read–sessions, in which the whole family reads at the same time.
5. Make books a basic.
Look at reading material like food and clothes: You wouldn’t leave the refrigerator or the closet empty, so don’t let the bookshelf go bare, either. Find a librarian or a teacher who keeps current with what’s new and popular for kids, or play the cool card: Get a respected teen to tell your tween what books he enjoyed.