11 Tips for Raising Readers

Did you know March is National Reading Month? Because living books are so very good, every month is all about reading in our house!  But in honor of this annual celebration of reading, I thought I’d take some time to share some of my best tips for raising readers.

11 Tips for Raising Readers

11 Tips for Raising Readers

Not only do we want to raise kids who can read well – we want them to want to read for years to come, right? Here are some things I’ve found to be really helpful for both teaching reading and instilling a love for reading.

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1.  Read to your children from the very beginning.

It’s never too early to start reading aloud to your children. Early reading trains them to love books and to equate reading time with cozy feelings. Hearing you read aloud also encourages early comprehension and teaches children to use inflection when they begin reading on their own.

If you didn’t start early, it’s never too late to begin reading aloud to your children!

2  Read every single day.

A love of reading can be built through a habit of reading. Every day should include reading – whether you read aloud or your children read independently or both!

3.  Read great books.

Your children won’t complain about reading every single day when you (or they) read wonderful books. In fact, you might just run into the opposite problem that they want to keep reading to find out what happens next!

In a Charlotte Mason homeschool, really good books are called living literature. These are books that draw children in and hold them tight. Sticking with living literature – whether fiction or non-fiction – develops a love for rich, deep, meaningful reading (that transfers into rich writing in the later years. Bonus!)

11 Tips for Raising Readers

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4.  Listen to recorded books once in a while.

In our home, I begin reading aloud to my children when they are babies and I don’t stop until they head off to college. Seriously. Read-aloud time is a precious time in our family. Granted, it’s much harder to find the time to read books together in the busy high school years.

Over the years, we also have come to love a different kind of read-aloud – recorded books. Listening to audiobooks is a great way to spend the miles traveling here and there as homeschoolers! The library is a great source for audiobooks if you don’t want to use a paid subscription service.

5.  Don’t skip phonics instruction.

When beginning to teach children how to read, please don’t skip phonics instruction. Giving your children the building blocks for reading (and spelling) will make SUCH a difference in their learning to read well enough to actually enjoy books!

6.  Encourage independent reading with high-interest books.

When you’re ready for young readers to begin enjoying their own quiet time with books, otherwise known as independent reading, motivate them with interesting books.

11 Tips for Raising Readers

7.  Encourage independent reading with below-grade-level books.

New readers might or might not be excited about their own quiet time with books at first. Either way, make sure they are successful by supplying books that are slightly below their current reading level. When they feel confident to read alone, the pleasure factor of independent reading is much more likely to grow than when they feel defeated by books that are just too much work.

8.  Have a steady supply of good books available all the time.

If you want to raise a reader, he or she needs books – and lots of them! Make sure there are books of all types and subjects freely available to your children at all times. Whether you build your own library of good books over the years or keep the shelves full of library books, it doesn’t matter. Just have books.

9.  Allow readers to choose their own books – at least some of the time.

As homeschoolers, we tend to assign books to our children for various purposes. We also tend to choose family read-aloud books to go along with our school plans. These assigned books will go a long way in raising readers, but free choice in reading selections is also very important. Make sure you are finding time in the busy homeschooling schedule for your children to simply read for their own pleasure some of the time. If they never get to choose their own books, you might notice the growing love for reading begins to fade.

10.  Frequent the library often.

There’s no better way to build a book passion than walking into the library and saying, “Here ya go. Almost everything you see can be yours. Go. Search to your heart’s content. We can bring home ten today, then we’ll come back for ten more next week, then ten more the next week.” It’s almost as good as walking into a candy shop and saying the same thing.

11.  Talk about books together.

Find common ground in books. When everyone is talking excitedly around the kitchen table about the latest read-aloud, you are connecting as a family and building strong bonds between you and the books. “Book talk” is also really good for building comprehension and vocabulary, especially in the younger years.

Please share YOUR tips for raising a reader!

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  1. So happy that all three of my kiddos now love to read! Regular trips to the library, reading together, as well as modeling adult quiet reading are all so important!

  2. chickbunhomeschool (@alhsjej) says:

    I love reading and so do my kids!

  3. jimmysgal says:

    Love this! I’m using one of your reading lists today to pick up more books at the library. Yay for National Reading Month!

  4. Thanks for all of these tips!

  5. Terrific article. Can’t stress enough keeping your kids interests in the forefront of their reading choices!

  6. These are great tips!

  7. The hardest thing I have right now is finding books for my second child to read that interest her.

  8. Laura, have you allowed her to choose some of her own from the library?

  9. Enjoying all the post by “touring” everyone’s sites for the giveaway. I’m a total reading junkie.

  10. Carla Rasnic says:

    Thank you for the great article!

  11. Judith Martinez says:

    These are some great tips, most of which I’ve used over the years and my older kids are all readers to some extent.

  12. I think one of most important things is that your kids see YOU read….a real book not a book on any electronic device. Monkey see, monkey do.

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