How would you like to learn how to help your child succeed in school?
What if I said that your child’s success in school boils down to early learning, literacy, and reading?
Better yet, what if I showed you 15 ways you can promote reading and literacy in your own home?
Promote Reading by Being a Reading Advocate
If you want your child to read more books, you need to promote a positive, strong reading culture in your own home. It would help if you were a reading advocate.
What is a reading advocate?
A reading advocate values literacy and encourages children to read. Reading advocates provide a literacy-rich environment, read with children, and pursue opportunities for verbal interaction.
There are 100s of ways you can promote reading in your community and your own home.
15 Easy Tips to Promote Reading & Literacy in Your Home
1. Get your child their own library card.
It costs you nothing! Bonus: There is no age requirement to become a library cardholder. Why get them their own library card? It promotes independence, gives your child the autonomy to choose books they like, and generates enthusiasm for reading. When my children started elementary school, I purchased book totes for each of them. It helped us keep the library books organized and ready to return.
2. Visit the library often.
Schedule your trips and prioritize them. Kids cycle through books fast, especially during the elementary school years. You want to ensure they have lots of reading material at home. Buying books can be costly. Hit up the library 2-4 times a month to stock up on the latest releases!
3. Promote reading by attending storytime and other events at your library.
In the digital age, libraries mean free Internet services, literacy programs, research databases, meetings, classes, ebooks, audiobooks, community outreach, and more. Check your library’s website. I think you’ll be surprised to see all of the great programmings your family can enjoy. Use them. They’re free! By participating, you give back to your community.
4. Talk about books!
When you’re looking for dinnertime table topics, talk to your child about what you’ve been reading. Please encourage them to do the same. Soon I’ll be publishing a list of over 100 bookish questions you can keep on hand for when you want to encourage literacy around the dinner table.
5. Choose reading when you have to wait.
It’s easy to pull out phones and tablets but leave them at home. Opt for books instead. Keep a basket of books in your car and pull them out for appointments. You can rotate the books you keep in the basket, or you can keep the same books in it and only let your child read them during long wait times. Trust me! They’ll look forward to pulling out those books. I keep a book basket handy in my car at all times.
6. Promote reading by placing reading materials in visible, accessible areas of your home.
Keep books on tables. In baskets. In the car. You don’t need fancy bookshelves! You only need books. The more books during the primary school years, the better!
7. Model a wide variety of reading options.
Listen to audiobooks in the car. Show your child your cookbook when you prepare dinner, and teach them how to follow a recipe. Subscribe to your favorite magazine. Remember, comics and graphic novels 100% count as reading too!
8. Model a happy reading life.
Be a reader to grow a reader! Let your child see you read often. Read books, magazines, cookbooks, and newspapers. Talk is just that–talk. Show your children that you value reading by actually reading.
9. Read aloud to your child.
Use passion, expression, and get silly with different voices. Make read-aloud time a habit!
Last May, I wrote an article for Scary Mommy called Why I Still Read Out Loud To My Teens. Yes, we still read aloud to our teens! It’s been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. In addition to the extra bonding time, read-alouds help with reading comprehension and literacy.
My four children consistently score in the 99th percentile for reading assessments (including the verbal component of the PSAT). I attribute their successes to our focus on literacy during early childhood.
10. Promote reading by forming a book club in your own home.
Come back and talk about what you’ve read together. Use family book club as a time to connect and bond. This works well for reluctant and struggling readers. It generates enthusiasm because it’s more active with discussion time.
11. Buddy read with your child.
A buddy read is when you read a book simultaneously as someone else so you can discuss it–either during the process or once you’ve finished. Recently, my 11-year-old and I buddy read Philip Pullman’s The Golden Compass. Once we finished the book, we discussed it together. Not only do buddy reads promote bonding, but they create a deeper understanding of reading material.
12. Introduce your children to audiobooks.
Audiobooks allow readers to listen to books at a higher level than they can read independently. In turn, this builds confidence and fluency. Hands down, you can use audiobooks to improve your child’s reading skills. This goes for children of all ages–including middle and high schoolers. Don’t underestimate technology! There are many surprising benefits to audiobooks. Plus, they’re a super easy and fun way to engage readers of all ages!
13. Promote reading by talking about books on social media.
Make it clear to your followers that you are a reading advocate. Post pictures of your library books and purchases, and discuss the plot, characters, themes, etc. You’d be surprised by the number of people who seek book recommendations and reviews online. This ties into modeling a happy reading life. You never know. You could inspire a non-reader!
14. Donate books to those in need.
Donate to shelters, daycares, and children in need. Ask your child to help you sort the books you plan to donate! One of my local elementary schools keeps a donation bin for gently used books, which it then donates to schools in need of independent reading materials. Find local organizations near you that need books.
15. Promote reading by watching adaptations.
Watch book-to-film/television adaptations. Engage your child in literature through film. Use this opportunity to discuss how the film lives up to the book! Recently, two of my children read Anne of Green Gables and then watched the Netflix adaptation Anne With An E. I listened to them discuss both the book and its adaptation for hours!
Focus on one or two of the tips above, and I promise you’ll generate more enthusiasm for reading in your own home.
Do you have any tips to add to this list? Please share in the comments!
***MamaBookworm is a participant in Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com***
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I LOVE reading and I read to my kids always! As they got older a few stopped liking to read, but I have to say now they all like to read (as adults)! So, don’t give up!!
Like everything, there are seasons. I’m hoping my teens will come back to it when they’re not reading for school quite so much.
These are SUCH great tips. We are huge fans of using the library–they are filled with so many resources. While our library is still closed, curbside pickup day is always a favorite day for my kiddos.
I’m so glad libraries have continued to offer curbside pickup throughout the pandemic. Soon it’ll be open again, friend.
Being a homeschool mom we do so much reading together! Thank you for these great reminders of things we can do to promote it even more.
I used to love reading as a child. I love it now as well, but dont have that much time. When my firstborn was 1 year old she kept bringing me books to read to her. It is so important for our little ones. You surely gave me some new tips, and reminded me how important it is.. thanks!
I’m glad you found the post helpful 🙂
I haven’t considered Buddy reading because my oldest is only 6 but he does read short chapter books so I think I might give it a try. If he thinks my husband and I are interested in a book he may be more interested too!
Buddy reads have generated a lot of enthusiasm in my house! Give it a try 🙂
Previous Kindergarten teacher and I agree with all of these. Reading to your child is so important! Also, local libraries are the best. We love our library story time and can’t wait for it to start back up in person!
I hope your library opens soon!
These are great tips! My kids are still little and love being read to, but I will have to save this for the future!
I’m so glad you found my post helpful! Thank you for reading.
As a lifelong lover of reading, I love what you’re advocating here.
Thank you, Sarah! The next generation has the power to be changemakers, and that starts with education and literacy.
With my nieces and nephews I have always promoting reading using book-to-film/television adaptations (which I love to do myself) so agree!
It’s a great way to get kids excited about reading!
My 9yr old said today “I really NEED the library to open again.” 😆
Does your library offer curbside pickup?
These are great ideas ! I never thought of giving them their own library card ! Thank you !
I love this article. Ive been reading to my daughter since she was just a few months old and now it become a habit for her to read before bedtime.
You’ll never regret spending that time reading to your beautiful daughter!
These are great tips! As a former kindergarten teacher I can definitely attest to the importance of promoting literacy in the home. It’s HUGE towards a child’s overall success in school. Love your ideas!
Great ideas! It’s so true…it starts young for sure! My 10 year old daughter and I recently read the same book. It was so fun to talk about it together! I’m already looking to read another one with her!
I LOVE all of this!! My daughter is reluctant to read, and we just discussed some of these ideas with her teacher. I have been way more intentional with showing her I read & love reading and it has made a difference in her attitude already. Thank you for sharing all these tips!
Yes I love reading to my little ones. Almost every night they will bring me some of their favorite books to read to them. And I have a rule that I started with my oldest son. I will buy him any book under the promise that they will read it. Sometimes it costs me more than I like. But they always keep up their end of the bargain.