10 Ways to Help Your Kids and Grandkids Become Lifelong Readers

IMG_7304We writers always smile when someone buys our books. Having other eyes on our words is a great reward, maybe the best, for all the hard work that goes into making an idea or a bunch of ideas into an actual book that’s out there for the world to discover. And, of course, we have a vested interest in encouraging people to read. Why not start with our own children and grandchildren?

10 Ways to Help Your Kids and Grandkids Become Lifelong Readers

  1. Read to them from an early, early age. Some even say while they are still in the womb but I never went quite that far. I pictured myself sitting on the couch reading a story to my grandson while he was still in my daughter-in-law’s belly and that just felt weird. 🙂

  2. Write a story yourself using photos of you and your spouse in the book. Create it on photo album software. We did that when our two grandchildren were about a year old. Both of them loved the big bear at our house. The book became Where Is Bear? and the children heard it many, many nights at bedtime, especially our granddaughter who lives so far away from us.Where Is Bear? 1

  3. Always make it fun. Let them stop you and ask about the pictures, why Uncle Kevin’s name is in the front of the old Dr. Seuss book, or if chickens lay green eggs. This is the best time. They open up to you and you see a lighted pathway right into their thoughts. Wonderful.

  4. Make a big deal about treasuring books. No, the kids don’t get to rip out pages or colour them. Run your hand over the words with reverence as your voice creates a magical imaginary world for their little heads to grasp. I stop on almost every page and ask questions. What would it be like to have duck feet? What is a wocket? Is there one in my pocket? What’s a grinch?

  5. Make a tradition out of reading and rereading a treasured Christmas book. If your tradition is something else, use a book about that.

  6. Go to the library and let them pick books. My daughter’s first library book was one of Beatrix Potter’s and she picked it because it was so small. She was about three so size was a big deal. Appley Dappley, I think it was. Now my daughter takes her daughter to the library and they bring home stacks of books to be treasured every night. She’s into books with fewer pictures now and at bedtime always wants another chapter. The kaleidoscope of action pictures runs in her head and, each night, she can hardly wait to start the movie.

  7. Let them see you read and treasure your reading time. Children ape our behaviour as we all know and preserving your own reading time is a good lesson for them. My mother used to go into the “parlour” every day after lunch and sit and read. We were not to bother her for that time as she transported herself to worlds within the pages. No wonder I became such a reader myself.

  8. Give books for gifts on all occasions. With the wealth of publications out there, finding something suitable is easy. Rather, limiting my purchases is the problem! Sign your child or grandchild up for a book or magazine subscription. I remember my kids having an OWL magazine come every month and, before that, a new Dr. Seuss came once a month. As they got older we had Time-Life Series books about famous people, all with a good story and a positive role model. They loved those books and we loved reading them with them.

  9. As the little ones start to recognize words and rhythms, stop at a pivotal repeated word and let them say it. This works especially if the word is the rhyming word at the end of a sentence. And if you draw their eyes to that word, soon they’ll actually be reading it. Such fun!

  10. And when your first published book arrives, take a picture with yourself and the book but also one with  your granddaughter and your book. She was part of the celebration for The Loyalist’s Wife as the picture above attests.

So, folks, it’s the holiday season, perfect book-buying time. HINT: Buy Christmas-themed books certainly but remember to buy books that go well all year as the holiday ones are only out for a month or maybe two.

And enjoy the time with the fresh new mind of the child you love.

P.S. If you don’t have kids of your own, go to the library and join a program to read to kids. Or go to an adult literacy class and help someone learn to read. The gift of reading is huge.

The Loyalist's Wife_Kindle_1563x2500

The Loyalist’s Wife, Book 1 of the Loyalist trilogy

The Loyalist’s Luck_cover_apr1.indd

The Loyalist’s Luck, Book 2 of the Loyalist trilogy


4 thoughts on “10 Ways to Help Your Kids and Grandkids Become Lifelong Readers

  1. For me it was the living room, through the doors from the TV room. You and I got to go there to practise piano; with our brothers yelling at us to keep the noise down. Ha!

    This is a beautiful inspiration to encourage reading. Thanks, Elaine.


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