This post is in partnership with Kabook. Thank you for supporting the brands that help make Bubby and Bean possible.
One of my earliest childhood memories is my parents reading three books to me before bed every night. I remember looking forward to it all evening long, carefully choosing the books we’d read once I had my pajamas on and teeth brushed, and snuggling up to read them. I truly believe this helped plant the seed for my future love of reading. And I knew that once I had kids of my own, I wanted to plant that same seed.
I am grateful for the fact that while my little ones aren’t yet old enough to read (although my 4 year old is starting!), they absolutely love books. (I wish I could say they only loved books and had zero interest in screen time, but let’s just focus on the wins for now, friends.) Whether they were just born with an affinity for books or we’ve been successful in encouraging it I don’t know, but reading with us and pretending to read on their own are two of their favorite activities.
Today I’d thought I’d share some of the things we’ve done to help plant the reading seed in our kids. And if you have other tips for encouraging reading in young children, I’d love to hear them in the comments!
1. Read together every single day. Since the newborn days, we have read books to our kids everyday, usually multiple times a day. It addition to creating a wonderful routine involving something positive (books!), it’s the perfect opportunity to snuggle together and bond.
2. Carry books everywhere you go. I always have a book or two in my bag, we have books in the car, and we bring books on vacation. If the kids get bored at a restaurant, an appointment, or while traveling, instead of giving them the iPad, I first reach for a book. It’s created a healthy habit where the kids ask for a book in these situations instead of crying or complaining. (Although let’s face it, there is plenty of crying and complaining too. We’re all just doing our best, man.)
3. Get library cards. We got library kids for both of our kids when they were around 6 months old. They think that going to the library is a great adventure!
4. Attend story times. Our local nature center has a really fun story time, as does the library. I’ll admit that only recently has my 2.5 year old been able to sit still at them, but my 4.5 year old thinks they’re the bee’s knees. It’s awesome to see them get so excited to attend an event that centers on books.
5. Create a cozy reading spot. Both my kids have “reading nooks” in their bedrooms, where we hung canopy tents from the ceilings and covered the floors with fuzzy rugs and tons of pillows. They both spend so much time in them looking at their books. (Sometimes I go in them too, to be honest. Major cozy factor.)
6. Choose personalized books. This is probably the thing that has most ignited a love for books in my kids. There is nothing quite as exciting when it comes to reading as your child seeing and reading a book that is all about her or him! Our favorite company for getting personalized books for Essley and Emmett is Kabook! Kabook! is unique in that it’s set up so families can work together to custom make a story that is highly personalized with things like the child’s name, user-uploaded photos that are instantly made into illustrations that go along with the story, and other details that are unique to the child. It really allows for your child to be the hero of the book, which is genuinely the coolest thing.
Essley has been doing so well at practicing her reading, so I decided to sit down with her and make a Kabook! book together. She chose Wanted: The Girl/Boy Who Saved the Kingdom, a fun tale about armies of frogs invading a nearby magical kingdom, that can only be saved by the child. We were asked a few questions about some of Essley’s favorite things, where she lives, etc., uploaded a photo, hit order, and we were done. When the book arrived, Essley was beyond thrilled. She couldn’t believe she was seeing herself on the cover and inside as an illustration, or that the book knew so much about her. Emmett is obsessed with it too (I’m making one for him for a holiday gift), and they’ve both been reading it nonstop.
For the holiday season Kabook! is offering four stories (three in addition to the one we ordered), all beautifully written and illustrated – We Hope You Remember: A powerful ode to family love, featuring 15 of your child’s baby photos, Hornswoggled!: A pirate crew has found a mysterious treasure map, but only your child can help them solve the riddles and unveil the treasure, and The List: Santa’s List is Missing a Page: Your child’s page on The List (Naughty or Nice) was accidentally shredded, so the elves are trying to put the page back together in time for the holidays. All four books are available as softcover or hardcover, are affordable (start at $ 24.99), and can be created in a minutes (they take 1 to 45 minutes). If you’re thinking of ordering one for your little one for the holidays (they’re designed for kid ages 0 to 7), just make sure you order by 12/5 (the holiday order cut off date). I can’t wait to own all of them! (Pssst… Use code HOLIDAY20 and you’ll get 20% off your order through 12/31/18! Woot!)
7. Encourage, don’t push. As with most things in the life of a young child, reading might get boring after a while, or our kids might simply feel like doing something else. In that case, I let it go. The biggest thing for me is to make sure reading and book are fun for them, so they’re be more apt to enjoy them. I never want it to feel like a chore.
8. Read yourself! I love reading, but I admittedly don’t have a lot of time for it these days. When I do read though, it makes my kids wants to read too. And that’s a pretty great incentive to make the time.
Who else has little ones who love books? What ways do you plant the reading seed in them?