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Building a Reading Habit: Eight Strategies for Parents to Encourage Daily Reading

We all know it - as soon as your kids come home from school, the last thing they want to do is even think about opening a book. But, making sure your young ones tap into page-turning literature rather than going square-eyed in front of the TV has many benefits.

Reading, of course, improves literacy as it helps create more extensive vocabularies, but it also stimulates concentration and allows kids to develop higher levels of imagination and creativity. But how do you build habits that explore mysterious underwater kingdoms or magical enchanted forests, so your little superstar gets the best reading experiences?

Here are our eight strategies to help build reading habits:

Create a cosy designated area for reading

Do you remember creating a blanket fort as a child, grabbing your favourite books and shutting off the outside world? Why not create a den of their own for your kids? While it doesn’t have to be built of pillows and blankets, having a reading nook will help make the experience special.

Create a routine

Daily bedtime stories are the obvious choice here, but reading can be whenever you want it to be. Do you start your day with a story that sparks their imagination? Or, do you spend time exploring a superhero’s latest adventures when they come home from school, while they’re having their afternoon snack? Whatever the time, make sure it’s consistent.

Go to the library

When you’ve read the books you have at home about a gazillion times, head to the library. New books are being published every week, so take out a couple to keep the reading material fresh and exciting. You’re bound to find the next masterpiece about just the topics your children love.

If you need more inspiration, why not check out our ultimate summer reading list?

Let your child pick

And while at the library - or at home - let your kids pick what they want to read. This way it feels less like a chore. You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but let your small readers pick whatever book speaks to them. Children's books are colourful and vibrant, so it can be hard to resist picking up whatever catches their eye.

Build reading into everyday life

Reading isn’t only limited to books. Encourage your kids to read wherever they can. If you’re out driving - read the road signs. Or if you’re at a restaurant help them read the menu themselves. As you go through your day, help your children keep an eye out for ‘reading moments’ where they can excel.

Make reading social

We all love offering up our opinions on things we’ve seen or read - kids are no different. So, make sure that you talk about what they’re reading. Help them explore the universe and ask about their favourite parts - maybe even encourage them to dream up what happens next. This will help build their comprehension and make reading a family activity.

As a summer vacation activity, you can also create a mini book club for your children and their friends. They can meet or text each other to talk about how the book made them feel and what they loved about it.

Set a good example

When was the last time you switched off the TV and put away your phone or tablet to dive into an actual book head-first? Your kids can’t see if you read a book on your tablet - you might as well be watching cat videos on social media. Make a habit of reading physical books at home. This way they learn that books offer a kind of enjoyment you don’t get anywhere else.

Give books as rewards

However you reward your kids, why not do it with books? Celebrate milestones and achievements with their favourite titles. Have they had a full month of good behaviour? Have they mastered riding their bike without support? Is it the end of the school year? Take them to the bookstore, or leave the next instalment of a series they love under their pillow. Signalling that books are special and making them a big thing will help them cherish them even more.

No matter what your techniques and tactics are to create lifelong readers, it will give your kids so many hours of joy. Embrace books and help them let their imagination run wild to create marvellous tales.

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