Raising Bookworms: 6 Ways to Nurture Your Kid's Love of Reading

It's not too late to raise a good readerIt's not too late to raise a good readerAs a child, I loved reading just as much as I did playing outside or in the company of friends. All I needed was a good book and a quiet room and I was suddenly transported into an entirely different world.

Along with the likes of Madeleine L'Engle, C.S. Lewis, and Beverly Cleary, I give credit to my parents. They did a great job of nurturing my love of reading, and that's why I want to do the same for my kids.

We know from research that reading truly makes an impact on kids' lives, not only now but in the future as well. According to Scholastic.com, children who grow up in homes with many books go further in school, and that increased family engagement with academics is related to better reading outcomes and other successes in kids.

Here are 5 ways you can support your child's love for reading even after they're too old for bedtime stories, a love that will serve them well throughout their lives.

1. Understand Where Your Child is Developmentally
When it comes to offering books to your child, meet him where he is developmentally. Giving a child a book that is above or below his reading level could lead to frustration or boredom. If your child is in school, speak to his or her teacher about appropriate books to read at home.

Related: 7 things you should never say to a kid

2. Support their Natural Curiosity
When kids ask questions, it's sometimes tempting to give them a quick answer and move on. Instead, help them learn the answers they seek in books. Stop by the library and teach your child how to locate books on the subject. Then, engage your child with questions to help him explore the idea further. If he's interested in a question relating to a period in history, for example, find both nonfiction and fiction sources to help him see the issue from multiple angles.

3. Think Outside the Book Box
Sometimes it's good to mix things up! Subscribe to developmentally-appropriate children's magazines (Cricket and Kids Discover were favorites among parents I polled). Kids will enjoy the visual stimulation of magazines and we know that they love to receive mail!

4. Respect their Choices
Allow your child the freedom to select books that are of interest to them, even if they may not be the ones you'd select. This gives you insight into topics that interest them, which you can support by offering similar choices in the future.

5. Model a Love for Reading
The most important thing that parents can do to foster a love for reading among their kids is to love to read themselves. Show your child that reading is a priority. Discuss books you're reading as well as books you read as a child. Get excited for them, and that excitement will transfer to your kids!

6. Make Books Inviting
Think about your child's perspective. Instead of keeping books out of children's reach, put them on eye-level and face the covers forward.

- By Mary L. Weimer
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