How To Raise A Reader: Part 1

By December 3, 2012 General 35 Comments

The other day I posted this picture on Instagram. My girls and I were having a girls night out. At dinner, my oldest finished the book she was reading.

A few minutes later I noticed her moving in sync with her sister. Left, right, up down. Finally, I realized she was so desperate for something to read she was trying to read the back of the book her sister was reading!

It was cute and hilarious.

A friend asked how we have raised kids who love to read so much. It’s a question I get asked a lot and I wish I had a step by step solution for you, but I honestly don’t know how much is what we’ve done and how much is just the way our kids are wired.

In any case, I thought I’d share some things that I think have helped. This will be a series and today is possibly the most important tip…

How To Raise A Reader Step 1: Be A Reader

(Note: This photo is not a political statement. My kids are into learning about the Presidents right now and these biographies were in the grocery store checkout lane.)

Our kids value what we value. If we are intent on constantly learning, we will inspire them to live the same way.

It is important that our children know we are reading and purposeful about growing. My husband loves to read books. I like to read aloud to the kids, but I’m not the best at actually sitting down and finishing a book…

Problem: What If I Don’t Like To Read?
I wrote about this last year, so I thought I’d just share it again today. I know that as moms, it is hard to find the time to read and it’s also hard to find the energy to read helpful books instead of just fluff books. Here is the solution that has worked for me.

(The following was originally posted on 2/8/11)

Confession: I’m Not A Reader

I used to read voraciously, but lately my pile of books to read just keeps growing and growing. In this season of life, busy with small children at home, audio books have been my saving grace.

I don’t have many moments when I can just sit down and read a book. But I have lots and lots of moments when I can just listen. I’ve made a considerable dent in my “to read” book pile since I discovered how well audio books work for me.

Listen While You Work

I actually look forward to doing chores because I know I’ll be able to listen to my book. Formerly boring chores like washing dishes, folding laundry and scrubbing tubs are now…wait for it…f-u-n. It makes the time go by quickly and I feel productive while even doing mundane repetitive tasks.

Listen While You Run

I also love to listen while running. If I’m in a particularly unmotivated season of exercise, I’ll even make the rule that I can only listen to a certain book WHILE I run. Another advantage of audio books is that they don’t mess with your running or breathing rhythm like music can.

(This is the book I’m currently “reading”. It’s SO good.)

I Relisten Better Than I Reread

Sadly, I’m not one of those people who likes to read books over and over. But I’ve learned that I really enjoy listening to books multiple times. I’m now able to glean many levels of wisdom from the books I read.

How I Listen

I use to buy my audiobooks and their iPhone app to listen to them. I listen on my iPhone using earbuds. If my kids are awake and playing I use regular earbuds and typically only listen in one ear so I can be sure to hear them.

If I’m doing dishes, while Jimmy gets them ready for bed, I’ll use sound isolating earbuds so I don’t have to turn the volume up too loud to drown out the sound of the water.

You can also listen to audiobook cd’s from the library. If you commute, your drive is a great time to listen to books.

Getting Your Kids Interested

We don’t have a DVD player in our car, but I don’t think our kids care one bit. We have a supply of books by each seat and lots of audio books (and Adventures in Odessey episodes) on hand. This is especially great for road trips or books that the children are too young to read, but would enjoy listening to.

They love hearing the stories and imagining the scenes. Frankly, so do Jimmy and I.

Get a Free Audiobook offers a free trial which includes a FREE audiobook (!) so even if you have no problem finding time to read books it might be worth it to check out and have books on hand for Christmas road trips. Here is the link to the free trial.

Now, it is more expensive for me to buy audiobooks than it is to buy paperbacks. But I have read 10x as many books this year, good thought provoking books (A Thousand Gifts – for the third time, Kisses from Katie, Grace Based Parenting) that I probably would never have finished if I had to read them, so it has been a very worthwhile investment for me.

Questions For You

What book are you reading right now? Do your kids like to read? What tips do you have for those trying to instill a love of reading in their children? Click here to join in the discussion!

(note: this post contains an affiliate link. I share what I use and love.)

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