Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Twenty-One Ways to Grow a Reader

When I was a child, I would frustrate my mother by reading so much. I still managed my responsibilities, and I earned good grades. But sometimes, when I would go outside “to play,” I would climb a tree and disappear into its branches, book in hand. On summer break, before I was old enough to have a job, I would sit and read an entire book in one day.

Are some of us born readers?

I don’t know.

But I didn’t want to leave my children to chance. I began, intentionally, to teach them to love reading at an early age. My children are still relatively young, so whether this will stick for life has yet to be seen. J

In honor of National Young Readers Week, here are twenty-one tips for growing voracious readers.


  1. Read aloud, copiously, when the children are little. Voices, too.
  2. Continue reading aloud even after the children can read for themselves. Voices, too. J
  3. Play with books – spread them out as roads for cars, build them into forts, wear them as silly hats.
  4. Let your children see you read…a lot.
  5. Let your children see their father read, or talk about how much he reads at work.
  6. Ask them about what they’re reading. What is it about? Who is their favorite character? What is their favorite part?
  7. Talk about books…a lot.
  8. When you talk about books, be excited…a lot.
  9. Give your children books for both birthday and Christmas. We usually give a book or two to the family at Easter as well.
  10. Praise them when they read a book…a lot.
  11. Quote from books.
  12. As the oldest children become avid readers, encourage them to encourage the younger children to read.
  13. Reduce or eliminate broadcast television. We don’t have television at all, but we read, play games, play together, and talk.
  14. Reduce or eliminate DVDs. Some days, we don’t watch any DVDs at all. Other days, it might be perhaps just a two-hour movie or an hour documentary.
  15. Reduce or eliminate video games. The only video game we have is the Wii, and we don’t have many choices for it. The last time anyone played the Wii was…um…a couple of weeks ago, at least. I think.
  16. Reduce or eliminate phones. Our children {the oldest is almost 14} don’t have phones or any handheld devices {except books J}.
  17. Reduce your use of your phone. Our children don’t see me fiddling around on a hand-held device often. I do check a few things on the iPad, but it’s not a tumorous growth on my hand. J
  18. Make going to the bookstore a big deal. We usually go to Half-Price Books where we feel a little more financial freedom to let them buy {almost} whatever they want. Hmm…a book for $1.00 or a Wii game for $20. That’s a no-brainer.
  19. Decorate with books on bookshelves. Even the wallpaper border in our den looks like a shelf of old books.
  20. Talk about the value of reading and how life and learning are much easier and more enjoyable when there is a love of reading.
  21. Pray. I have prayed since their birth that each of my children would love to read.







Happy reading! J








Do your children like to read? How have you encouraged that?




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22 comments:

  1. Hi Meghan! Just wanted to say that we too LOVE reading. Just yesterday I was at the book store with my two daughters salivating over all the wonderful books there and trying to get ideas for Christmas. My oldest made the comment that she has a goal to buy one of every book in the place! My youngest -an avid reader herself - agreed. I often say in our household we don't read books, we drink them. :-) Ahhh, delicious! ;-) I have always read to my girls and practiced everyone of your suggestions. Still do. My youngest daughter's favorite time of the day is when we are reading a book out loud. She just can't get enough and I wouldn't have it any other way! God Bless! ~Tammey

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    1. That's a great goal, Tammey, to buy every book in the store! Love it! Rick Barry, the author of the book in the first picture (and he commented below), uses the phrase "inhaling books." They are necessary to life, either way you say it! :-)

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  2. First of all, I ALWAYS enjoy your posts! Secondly, I loved the picture of your son reading at the table. My sister and I often looked like that growing up and even now as a Mama my daughter and I read at the lunch table! :) God's blessings on you, your sweet family, and this blog that I enjoy so much

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    1. Thank you so much, Amy, for your kind comment! I love that you and your daughter read together at the lunch table. Every once in a while, I get out of the house on my own, usually to the library just to read quietly. My oldest daughters usually want to come with me so they can just read quietly with me, while I'm alone. :-)

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  3. Great list! Making the library a big deal is also a great way to stir that interest--when my kids were little that and the church were our big destinations, so it seemed totally thrilling!

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    1. How could I forget the library, Heather?! :-) Of course! *slaps forehead* That's number twenty-two. We go to the library once each week, and they plan all week what books they'll search for. Thank you!

      P.S. I can't wait for your book to be out in the paper version! Love the cover! And my 13yo has already asked if she can read it. :-)

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  4. Wonderful post. And this author is honored at your choice for photo #1!

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    1. Thanks, Rick. I never knew, when I snapped it in an instant, that it would get so much mileage. :-)

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  5. I am a serious bookworm, and have almost always been one, except for those few years when there were no electronic books yet and my life was so busy I didn't have time to go to the library to get books. since electronic books have become so popular I have so many book choices it's amazing! I always have a book I'm reading, I make sure and download it to both my phone and my kindle so no matter where I am I can open it up and read when I have a few minutes. The picture of your daughter cooking and reading is so much like me. I do that all the time. My boys were homeschooled and they loved to hear me read to them, the oldest used to like to read, the youngest hated reading. Right now neither read books much at all. *sigh*

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    1. I am torn between real paper books and e-books, but I can see how the e-book would always be with you, no matter what happened in your day. Just don't drop it in whatever you're cooking! :-)

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  6. One of the most important things we can instill in our children, thank you

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  7. I remember going to story time at the library as a child. Even so, I discovered wonderful books when I had my own children that I never knew existed. I always say, "There are so many books, so little time."
    Love your photos.:)

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    1. Yes, Barbara! I love discovering new children's and young adult books. And I used to have a sweatshirt with that saying on it. Think I might need to resurrect it for my children! :-)

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  8. These are great tips!
    My husband and I are blessed to be surrounded by books and to have a love for reading. We'll keep these tips in mind as we try to instill a love for reading into our kiddos.

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  9. I love your pictures of your children reading. You have definitely grown some readers :) I especially like your #21 tip: I've never thought about praying for my children to be readers but that is good.
    Sharing this on my Facebook page and pinning!

    You inspire me, sweet friend.

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    1. Keri, you make my day! I'm so glad you found this helpful, and I'm honored that you would share it. :-)

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  10. My husband and I are voracious readers, and so far all three of our daughters seem to be as well. I loved this list - especially the idea of building forts with books (I've never thought of that!). And yes, my daughters' favorite "field trip" is when Daddy takes them to the library on Saturday mornings!!

    I'll be sharing this on my FB page this evening! Thank you!

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    1. Thank you for mentioning the library, Lisha. I can't believe I forgot to put it in the list! I used to daydream of getting locked in the library all night. :-)

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  11. Thank you for the great tips! My son is 8 months old and my husband and I are doing our best to encourage a love for reading :) Thank you for sharing in the Living Proverbs 31 link-up!

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    1. Eight months is a great age for read-alouds. :-) Mine would be so eager to turn the pages that the story quickly became abridged. Fun!

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