10 Ways to Instill the Love of Reading in Your Child

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From the time my children were toddlers, every other week or more we’d go to the library and max out our cards. I’d carry a large mesh bag in and load it up with a huge stack of board books and picture books (and later chapter books and early readers and so on). We’d read four every night before bed (not always on weekends), taking turns, page by page, on who got to read once they’d graduated to that level. The three of us absolutely loved this special time together (sometimes with Dad instead of with Mom) and rarely skipped it. Today, they are A students in upper elementary and high school. While I certainly can’t take all of the credit for their grades, (not even close!) I have to believe that some of their ability to excel in school, as well as their love of learning, has to do with my focus on books from a very early age. So for Valentine’s Day, I’m thrilled that my guest blogger, author Rosie Russell, discusses this subject with us, one so near and dear to my heart.

10 Ways to Instill The Love Of Reading In Your Child

Are nap time and bedtime the only times your toddler or preschooler wants to read? This Valentine’s Day, learn how to instill the love of reading!


1)    Find a book at the proper age level for your child.

For toddlers or younger children, check out stories with engaging illustrations and limited words. ABC, animal, counting, and rhyming books are excellent choices.

For preschoolers, find books on subjects they can relate to or something they already treasure. It’s so easy for us to choose the book, but finding tales that interest them is the key. Take them to the library and see what books they’re drawn to.

Also, don’t stick to just storybooks. Expose them to age-appropriate non-fiction as well. Kid-centered magazines and activity books are a fun way to teach your child about the world.


2)    Make sure your reading area is well lit and comfortable.

Find comfy pillows or chairs for your reading time.

Invest in a lamp that will work for your area. Flashlights may be a fun addition for nighttime stories. Building a reading tent out of blankets and tables during the day creates excitement, too.

Snuggle up in a cozy spot if you’re reading together. Or, encourage a child to read on her own for a bit. Even a toddler will leaf through a stack of enticing books sitting next to him on the couch, especially if he was the one to pick them out.


3)    Point out pictures and subject matter to discuss before you begin reading.  

Give attention to the cover image and the title, and guess what the story might be about.

For older children, show them the author and illustrator’s names and talk about what those roles mean. Many times the books will contain photographs. Talk about the work this would have involved.

This process will teach your child how a book is made. When they start school, you’re helping them build the foundation to write their own stories.

4)   For the dialog in your stories, change your voice to sound like the characters.

Make your voice change as the characters change. Make them as goofy as you like. Children respond to this and you’ll make the story an unforgettable one.


5)     Don’t forget to ask a few questions throughout your story.

Ask them their thoughts. “I wonder what will happen next?”

Search for objects or people in the story to keep them involved. 

6)     At the end of each book, talk about the story.

Ask them what their favorite part or character was. Did they like the story? Did they like the ending? If not, what do they think should have happened instead?

This is a great time to find out the types of books your child will enjoy in the future. Make another trip to the library or bookstore or jump online with them to look for stories that are similar.


7)    What happens if you start a book and they don’t seem interested?

Skip it and choose another. As adults, we find books that we start but which fail to hold our interest. It’s important to realize that children are the same way.

However, if your child is enjoying a story, but it’s too long for them to sit through, try adding a bookmark and return to it later. If you can see that they’re too tired to focus, put the book away for another day entirely. Remember that a child’s attention span for reading is something that will grow with time, but only through continued exposure to words and pictures.


8)    Create a habit to read every day.

Children, for the most part, love routines. If they know at a certain time of day or night that it is “reading time,” they’ll settle into the habit and will look forward to that time.

When they are very young, they’ll love reading time especially because they’ll be spending time with you. But as they grow, this love of that special time will turn into a love of reading for its own sake.

9)    Try audio books.

Audio books are wonderful. If you have the book on hand, they can follow along. When a child views the written words and listens to how the words are pronounced, your child is sharpening his or her reading skills. Some of us are audio learners and some of us are visual learners. Sometimes, a child who doesn’t respond as well to looking at a book will take very well to listening to one.


10)  Have fun!

Most of all, have fun during your reading time. There are so many wonderful books out there to choose from. Pick an array of stories. Children love joke books, I spy books, fantasy, and mystery books. The lists are endless.

The time you spend together reading will be treasured for years to come. There is hardly a better gift you can give your child than to open their world to imagination and the love of reading. Remember, a love of reading does not happen by accident. Every effort you make for your child in this area will enrich their lives for years to come.

Rosie Russell is the author and illustrator of seven books.

She studied Early Childhood Education and has taught students in elementary and middle school for fifteen years in the Midwest.
Rosie now writes and illustrates full time and is looking forward to sharing her books with students, encouraging them to write and illustrate their own stories.

Learn more about her at the links below.


Rosie Russell on Amazon

Follow Rosie Russell on Twitter

Follow Rosie Russell on Facebook

Her latest book, Sherman the Shopping Cart, a Search and Find book, can be found at the links below:

Barnes and Noble
Rainy Day Books


Thanks for reading!

All photos are courtesy of the WordPress free photo library. Learn more about my work at shanagorian.com.
This article was written in its entirety by author Rosie Russell. All advice and opinion contained within are directly that of the author.


  1. Make sure that the kids start with a good,physical book and NOT an e-reader, Nothing beats the experience of leafing through the paper pages of a book and the use of a bookmark. An e-reader only consists of an illuminated screen and just swiping through.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree josiesvoice. I can see e-readers great for trips or certain times when physical books are not available at the time. Nothing beats the real thing though. Real books are also better for our eyes, that’s the case for me.
      Kids love flipping through books over and over again.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Rosie, I want these kids to know how a real book looks like. If not, it will be like the flat TV that doesnt look like a square box with an antenna on top or the landline phone apparatus and not just a smartphone on the palm of their hands.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on I Read Kid's Books Journal and commented:
    Another relog today. Not do I love and heartily recommend Shana Gorian’s Rosco the Rascal book series, but I loved the information her guest blogger shared.

    My earliest and best memories are reading with my mother and I firmly believe that set the tone for reading in my entire life. When my son was little, a trip to the library or bookstore was the highlight of his week. Books were his favorite toys and he always had them nearby. One of my most cherished memories of him was as a toddler reading to a group of his stuffed animals. He was making good use of the tips on this list, which I hope means that I did as well.

    My favorite tip is about audio books. Both my brother and my son were severely dyslexic and it was well into their elementary years with a lot of hard work and OT, before they were able to read at grade level. Still, both enjoyed getting lost in a good story and audio books were a fantastic way to practice reading skills they didn’t quite have.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much for re-blogging sherrelp!
      We did the same thing and went to the library every Wednesday. They had a story time that was awesome. How sweet your little guy read to his stuffed animals.
      The audio books are fantastic for all readers but especially for reluctant or those with reading challenges. I worked in a program called “Read 180” and it provided the books along with the audio devices in their curriculum. I saw the most wonderful results with that program. (This program is free in most public schools. Check your area where it’s offered.)
      Thank you for your comments today.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Thanks so much for your reblog, Shellelp. That is something I hadn’t thought of, that audio books would be such a lifesaver for kids with dyslexia, but so true! Thanks for your comments. I love your story about your son and his stuffed animals. I have a picture of my daughter at age 3 that I just adore, or her sitting at her tiny wooden tea table with a stack of books she was going thru on the table, and the discarded pile on the floor of the ones she either had just finished or didn’t like. So precious.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Its like you read my mind! You seem to know so much about this, like
    you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you can do
    with some pics to drive the message home a bit, but instead of that,
    this is excellent blog. A great read. I will certainly be back.


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