Tips to Inspire Family Reading

books on shelf

It’s early on a Thursday night. You and your spouse are home from work, the kids have finished their homework. You have a solid chunk of time before bed, so how do you fill it? Most families resort to the TV or computer. If you count yours among them, then perhaps it’s time to reevaluate what really constitutes “family time.” Reading is an alternative to watching TV that engages the mind and inspires creativity. If it’s been awhile since you yourself have picked up a book, then perhaps you’re part of the problem! Inspire the entire family to read (including yourself) by heeding these tips:

  • Model bookworm behaviors. If you’re lucky enough to have kids young enough to think everything you do is cool, then you’re at a unique advantage. Just letting them spot you reading around the house or before bed might be enough to make them curious about what you’re up to. Sneak a book along on family vacation and read it on the beach or spend Sunday afternoons reading in the living room.
  • Get that kid a library card. If you give kids the opportunity to choose their own books, they’ll most likely be more excited to start reading. Take them to your local library and sign them up for their very own library cards. Then let them know that they can choose any two or three books they like, and put them in charge of remembering to return them. You’ll teach responsibility and cultivate a love of reading in one move.
  • Make it a contest. If your kids like to compete, come up with a family-wide reading contest. Whoever reads the most books over summer vacation earns a special day out with mom and dad to the park or the go-kart track. Find an incentive that speaks to your kids and their sense of friendly competition—just make sure they know that sportsmanship factors into the final book tally.
  • Take it outdoors. Sometimes a change of scenery can make reading feel like a special treat. Consider packing up a picnic basket with snacks and taking the kids to the park. Spread out a blanket in a shady spot and pull out your favorite books. You can also set up a “campsite” in the backyard for some reading, or just sunbathe on the deck while you dive into some real page-turners.
  • Create a special reading space. Likewise, setting up a book nook indoors makes feel more…well, novel. Find a corner of your apartment, preferably near a bookcase and a window, and add a comfy chair or just a pile of throw pillows to create a comfy spot for spending a few hours immersed in a good book.
  • Encourage reading all day—even the back of the cereal box. Teaching kids about the practical uses of reading might encourage those who aren’t in it for the princesses and dragons. Encourage your children to read all day long, from the cereal box and milk carton in the morning to the recipe you use for dinner. Make it fun and allow for mispronunciations, only helping them out when they ask. You want to build up and encourage them, after all!

    Image and attribution: