How To Raise A Reader--Here are 10 Tips

By Mommy Donna and Kib - August 21, 2019

We all want to raise a child who loves reading more than playing computer and mobile games, but in this age of computers, it's very hard to encourage children to read more than to navigate the Internet and watch videos or play games.

I am proud to say that my son is a reader.  He had a PSP when he was four years old but I only allowed him to play with it when he was six years old.  I only let him play with his PSP occasionally because I noticed that he lacks focus and has a tendency to be deaf when he's hooked into it.  There came a point in the past that he has no gadget for months and I'm happy that he paid attention to his toys and books during those times.  He didn't show any frustration nor anger when he is banned from using gadgets.  Now that he is a teenager, his gadget use is still limited and he is okay with it.  He can only have an opportunity to play or watch videos on his mobile phone when he's done doing his schoolwork and chores.

I see a lot of people on social media asking on how to make their child love to read.  I wanted to share my own experience in exposing my child to the world of reading, but I only give snippets because I'm too lazy to compose sentences, haha.  This time, I've listed ten tips for you so that you will be able to raise a child who has a knack for reading!

Be an example!  It's very important that the child sees his/her parents reading too!  Parents don't need to read long texts nor novels just to set an example.  By reading magazines, children's books or even short stories, the parent is already setting an example to the child on the love for reading.

Buy books according to your child's interest.  Buy age-appropriate books and books of interest for the child to kickstart the love for reading.  If the child loves dinosaurs, then buy books about dinosaurs.  Do not buy an encyclopedia about dinosaurs when the child is only three years old.  Make sure that the child can easily comprehend the book that the parent will buy for him/her.  However, it is not also a bad idea to buy books that are beyond his/her age because books are also an investment.  Some books increase in value as the years go by.

Kib checking out the books that I bought for him at the Scholastic Warehouse Sale

Read a book to your child.  Giving lots of books to the child isn't enough to encourage your child to read.  To start instilling the love for books, the parent should spend a story-reading time to your kids.  Make the story-reading activity interesting by making sounds and gestures and using different tones in reading lines of a character.  

Ask questions about the book your child is reading.  It is very important that the parent also interacts with your child when he/she is reading. Ask the child about the book he/she is currently reading, and also try to ask thought-provoking questions like if he/she is one of the characters, what he/she will do, etc.

Involve your child in book-buying.  There are times that parents do not bring their children when they buy books.  To really capture the child's interest, parents should bring their child to the bookstore so he/she can choose the books that he/she likes to read.  It also gives the child plenty of options to choose from when buying books.  The parent can also have a date with his/her child in the bookstore!  Just let the child sit on one corner of the bookstore to read.

In buying books, the parent may opt to set conditions to the child, like the price of the book, the quantity of the book, etc.  There was a time that I told Kib to choose books from the classics and he chose "To Kill A Mockingbird" and "1984".

Book-shopping at MV Logos Hope

Kib choosing the books that he like to read at Big Bad Wolf book sale

Do not limit your child in reading.  If the child wants to read labels, let him/her read!  If the child wants to read business magazines, encourage!  If the child wants to read wall posts on museums, let the child take his/her time!  Make sure that when the child is reading these kinds of writings, the parent is present to guide the child, to explain what the text is all about so that there will be no confusions.  If the parent is not sure about the article, just be honest to also tell the child that you do not have any idea about it, but be ready to tell suggestions on how the child can learn more about it, like by asking another adult or by giving additional reading material.

At the Stations of the Cross at BGC

Let your child take time in reading.  Don't rush the child in finishing reading an article or text because of various reasons.  Give time to the child to finish reading.  By always hurrying, the child isn't able to grasp the whole idea of what he/she has read and the child will always think that reading has always a time limit.  Encourage speed reading later on when you were able to establish a reading habit.

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Encourage reading paper books instead of e-books first.  I know, e-books are handy than paper books, but I would still encourage parents to expose their child to paper books first than e-books.  E-books are cheaper (and anyone can just easily delete it from their devices when they're done reading), reading from the digital device can make a person's eyes tired. Reading a paper book teaches the child how to take care of books and for younger kids, it teaches the child fine motor skills (flipping pages).  

Kib loves to read books at bookstores

Share a book!  Kib's first books are given by family and friends, so I guess it is only the right thing to do to share books to others too.  We already have donated books to an NGO in the past and we also gave books to friends with young kids too.  I also told Kib to check his bookshelf every now and then to see if there are books that he doesn't like anymore so we can give it away.  I told him that I won't buy him new books until he picks books for sharing/donation.

By sharing, the parent also teaches his/her child the value of giving something without expecting anything in return.  It also encourages the receiver to also read.  And yes, sharing makes the world a better place to live.  Read my blog about our book-sharing experience here.

Try to meet the authors!  It's a memorable experience to meet the authors of books you love!  My son feels ecstatic whenever he meets authors.  Meeting authors gives the child an opportunity to express their feelings and opinions about the book they have read.  Also, this is your chance to ask for an autograph!  You can also check this blog for Kib's encounter with a book author:

With Russell Molina, an award-winning children's story book author.

It is also very important to note that determination and discipline are still important in instilling good habits to your children, so stick to your goals and for sure, your kid will be a reader.

Have fun reading!

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