Raise a bookworm - Give your child books for Christmas

Tips to get your kids excited about books
Tips to get your kids excited about books

Raise a bookworm

So you want to raise a bookworm? Then encourage your children to love books long before they learn to read. Introduce books to your children as soon as their chubby little fingers can hold them. Babies will love to explore the pictures in board books. They'll also love chewing them, but that's okay. It's all part of building up a familiarity with books.

Growing up with books and regular story telling are key to helping your child develop a lifelong love of books. The crucial years that this attachment to books happens is 0 to 5, which is way before the age most children learn to read. Reading to your child will not only help them develop essential pre-reading skills, it will also make them eager to learn to read as they discover the pleasure that books can give. The earlier you start reading to your child the better and there's books out there that are suitable for every stage of development.

7 tips to get your young child excited about books:

'The Queen's Knickers' will have you and your toddler laughing

Make Storytime Fun

If you want to engage kids in any kind of learning, the number one rule is to make it fun! When kids are having fun, learning becomes a joy, not a chore. Sing nonsense rhymes, be silly and get into character by putting on different voices. Preschoolers will appreciate humorous books like 'The Queen's Knickers' by Nicholas Allan.

Tip: Encourage your child to join in with classic tales like 'The Three Little Pigs'. Kids will love playing a part in the story and even the youngest toddler who isn't talking yet can 'huff and puff' and blow the pig's house down.

Rhyming Rocks!

Kids adore rhyme. Which is why they love Dr Seuss's books with their silly nonsensical rhymes. What child (or adult) wouldn't be enthralled by 'The Cat in the Hat'? All forty-four books that Dr Seuss wrote are full of zany characters that kids will love. And each story he wrote is full of rhyme, rhythm and repetition - all the things that make learning fun for kids.

Tip: Rhyme helps a child learn that words are made up of lots of different sounds. The development of this phonological awareness is a key skill in learning to read. So when your child wants to recite Twinkle Twinkle Little Star for the hundredth time, don't despair. It's all helping to reinforce these pre-reading skills.


Does your child love books?

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Repetition, Repetition, Repetition!

Kids can't get enough of their favourite books and will often ask for the same story to be read over and over again. This is perfectly normal and shouldn't be discouraged. Hearing a familiar story makes a child feel safe and secure. What's more, children learn from repetition so hearing the same story over and over again will reinforce the rhythm, rhyme and meaning of words.

Tip: Your child will enjoy telling you what happens next in a familiar story. During story telling , pause now and again and let your child tell you that the wolf is about to blow the little pig's house down.


Home in on their Passion

Find books on topics that your kids are passionate about. Is your child mad about cars? Do you have a mini ballerina pirouetting around the house? Then choose books on these topics. Even the most reluctant bookworms will want to read on when the book is on a topic that they are really interested in.

Tip: Visit the local library or book shop and let your children choose books that interest them. Children are much more likely to want to read a book that they have chosen themselves.Most book shops nowadays will let you browse before you buy. You can steer your children towards the section that holds the books on topics that they're interested in.


It's never too early to read to your baby
It's never too early to read to your baby | Source

Appeal to the Senses

In recent years, the children's book market has been flooded with touch and feel books that are especially suited to babies and toddlers. Touch and feel books come with lots of different textures that will help your child develop sensory awareness.These books are popular for good reason. Babies learn a lot about their environment by exploring new things using their hands and mouths. Yes, your baby is actually learning every time she puts something new into her mouth as it contains more nerve endings than any other part of her body.

Tip: Talk to your baby about the textures, colours and patterns in the books as she explores them. Some of these books don't contain any words but there's still plenty opportunity to introduce new vocabulary to your child by talking about the 'yellow fluffy chick' as she explores it with her hands and mouth.


Any Time Any Place

A bedtime story is a regular routine for many children. This is great as it helps your child wind down after a busy day and is a lovely way of spending one to one time with her. However, reading stories can take place at any time of day and shouldn't just be confined to bedtime.

Tip: Always have a book handy for car, train or plane journeys. It's a far better way of keeping your child entertained than any hand held console or DVD player. There are lots of books that come with the story told on cd that can be played in your car or on a portable cd player. And if it's all that's on offer, you'll find that your child will be quite happy with this educational form of entertainment.


Lead the Way

So you want you child to love books? Then make sure you're a good role model. If children see you reading regularly and showing a genuine enthusiasm for books then they'll follow your example. So don't feel guilty the next time you curl up with your favourite novel. You'll be showing your child how pleasurable reading can be.

Tip: Kids don't always think of reading from gadgets as 'proper' reading. So make sure your child sees you reading 'real' books, newspapers and magazines as well as your kindle or tablet.


As Dr Seuss said, "The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you'll go."

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15 comments

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 2 years ago from England

Hi maggie, great advice, as someone who read from the age of three onwards this is brilliant, I always took books out for my son to read, and I would read everything to him. To start with we always bought him comics, even though he didn't read then the pictures helped him to pick up words and he never looked back, voted up and shared! nell


informationshelte profile image

informationshelte 2 years ago

Learning to read opens an amazing door for children to the world of adults. It is a huge improvement in the level of communication between the child and the parents and also increases the child's self confidence and trust to the parents.

Teaching your child to read can be the first step towards building a great relationship on strong foundations, such as the parental instinctive love as it is expressed as guidance for reading, and the subsequent feeling of gratitude and joy by the child.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean

Great advice! Passing it on. Thank you.


DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 2 years ago from Oakley, CA

Excellent advice. I was read to often; my parents read for entertainment, as my father refused to have a TV. Reading was what we did, or listening to records and less often, the radio.

I don't really recall my mother reading me stories specifically at bedtime, but she did read to me in the evenings. I did become a bookworm and a book-aholic. In fact, it set me apart from the other kids in school, and not necessarily in a good way. LOL When we'd have group reading, I'd get so annoyed and impatient with others' stumbling through the material that I'd be ignoring them and reading well ahead of the group, so that when it was my turn, I did not know where we were because I'd left them all in my dust. ;-)

Take away my TV, and I might utter a minor protest; try to take away my books, and you'll have a fight on your hands! I was very, very sad to have to give several large boxes of books away to the Friends of the Library simply for lack of storage space. Not that I begrudge the library, but because I enjoyed having them to refer to at home...but packed away in boxes, they weren't doing me that service.

I fear I failed my own children by not reading to them as much as my mother did with me. For one thing, my ex-husband, their father, was a TV-raised child, and the TV was always on (irritated me), and I also have some kind of breath-control problem, as I am unable to read aloud without yawning about every other sentence. It does not make for good continuity in the story, or impress the kids that I am enjoying the material. (Which I really did not.. I grew up before Dr. Seuss was around, and learned the traditional nursery rhymes--still rhymes, but at least also a story. I don't like the nonsense rhymes, and I never have liked endless repetition...so that was hard for me, as well, once I outgrew wanting my mother to read a couple of particular stories over and over until she had them memorized.

The end result is, my adult daughters don't read much. The elder one does, sometimes, but the younger one dislikes reading, and reads only if she has to, in order to learn something, such as an instruction manual. (And then is surprised that her eldest does not care to read the hundreds of books that have been bought for her!) The way they turned out emphasizes the importance of the points you've made here!

Voted up +++


Maggie.L profile image

Maggie.L 2 years ago from UK Author

Hi Nell Rose. I agree with you that it doesn't matter whether it's a comic, book or magazine. The main thing is to get your child interested first. Just like you, I took books around everywhere we went when my children were young. Many thanks for voting up and sharing my hub.


Maggie.L profile image

Maggie.L 2 years ago from UK Author

Hi DzyMsLizzy, I don't read as much to my youngest as I did with my elder two children and I can see the difference already. Although a very fluent reader, she isn't as keen on books as her siblings (they're both bookworms and will choose reading over any other form of entertainment) and needs more encouragement to read. Many thanks for your vote and comments.


Maggie.L profile image

Maggie.L 2 years ago from UK Author

Hi informationshelte, Thanks for stopping by to read. You're right! Reading is a really good tool for improving communications between parent and child. Thanks for adding this good point.


DDE profile image

DDE 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

Interesting and so helpful for children. Books are still the best to have in your home.


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

I did this with my daughter when she was young. We loved Dr. Seuss in particular. She is now a teen and still loves to read. It has made a tremendous difference in her life. Voted up and more.


Maggie.L profile image

Maggie.L 2 years ago from UK Author

Devika- thanks for your kind comments. Our home is like a library and my kids are still collecting!


Maggie.L profile image

Maggie.L 2 years ago from UK Author

FlourishAnyway- Many thanks for reading and voting. Glad to hear reading to your daughter has had such a positive impact in her life. My teenage daughter also loves reading. It's still her number one hobby.


billybuc profile image

billybuc 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

My parenting days are long gone, but I am all for parents raising their children with a love of reading. Great suggestions here.


Maggie.L profile image

Maggie.L 2 years ago from UK Author

Thanks billbuc for reading and commenting. I really believe that nurturing a lifelong love of reading is one of the greatest gifts that parents can give to a child.


Relationshipc profile image

Relationshipc 2 years ago from Alberta, Canada

My sister-in-law does not read to her kids, and it drives me insane! I find that so many people are lacking basic writing skills, and I strongly feel that reading is a way to help kids, who use the computer with auto-correct all day, learn how to write.

Another tip would be to get those personalized books. I think that's a great way to get a kid excited about reading.


Maggie.L profile image

Maggie.L 2 years ago from UK Author

Hi Relationshipc. That drives me mad too. Reading to your child regularly can make such a difference to kids, helping them acquire essential reading and writing skills. Personalized books are a great idea too. What kid wouldn't want to read a story with themselves in the star role?

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