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5 Ways to Inspire a Love of Reading

5 Ways to Inspire a Love of Reading


Last updated on September 28th, 2021 at 01:43 pm

There are so many things parents are supposed to do with their children to help with their development. I find I am constantly questioning myself about whether or not I am doing “enough.” Are my twins getting enough one-on-one time with my husband and me? Are they getting enough exercise? Are they in the right activities?  Then there’s the school work. They’re supposed to do five minutes of math practice three times per week. We’re supposed to read together. Reading to the kids. Have them read aloud. Practice sight words. There is just so much, and sometimes I’m afraid that I’m doing none of it well.

One day one of my six-year-old daughters was standing behind my uncle as he was writing an email, and she started reading along as he was typing. When she stopped him to ask him, “What’s a ‘transfer station’?” I had a moment of real joy as I realized that we were doing well with the reading part.

As a teacher, I probably have a biased opinion about the importance of reading, but I believe it is an absolutely essential skill to function well in school and as an adult. As parents, there are many things you can do to help foster a love of reading in your children and set them up for success in school. It is also never too early to start! The following are some things that my husband and I did with our twins, which has helped them to love reading.


Read aloud to your babies.

There was so much going on in the newborn stage, it was hard for me to find a regular time to read to my girls. It wasn’t part of our daily routine, but whenever I found myself looking at my babies in their bouncy chairs or swings, and it was still a while before the next feeding or nap, I would pick up one of the many new children’s books we had and I read aloud.  Even now that my children are six years old, I look back on this as a pleasant, calming time. The girls liked to hear my voice, and once they were big enough, they enjoyed looking at the pictures. The books we read were short and could be put down in a moment’s notice, should one of the babies suddenly need a diaper change or want to be picked up, but we eventually made our way through several fairy tales, numerous Berenstain Bear books, and even an anthology of Greek mythology stories.

Make reading part of the bedtime routine.  

I couldn’t manage this when I was breastfeeding because I almost always nursed the babies to sleep. I stopped breastfeeding when the girls were around 20 months old, and at this point, we were able to make reading stories part of our nightly routine. The girls would drink milk from a sippy cup while my husband and I each took turns reading a story. This became a pleasant way to wind down before we laid the girls in their cribs to go to sleep, and we have continued doing this as they have gotten older. We still read to them as part of their bedtime routine now.  

Read books to help your children get ready for new experiences.  

When our twins were two, my husband and I planned a trip to visit family across the country. This was the first time that our children would be away from us for an entire week. To help them get excited for this, we read The Berenstain Bears and the Week at Grandma’s.  This provided a way for us to talk about what was going to happen while the girls stayed at their grandparents’ house, and my husband and I were on our trip. We did a similar thing before the girls had their first dentist appointment. We read The Berenstain Bears Visit the Dentist. This helped the girls know what to expect, and they weren’t nervous when we went to their check-up. Although I realized I had possibly said, “This is just what YOUR visit to the dentist is going to be like,” too many times when one daughter asked me, “Is the dentist going to be a bear?”


There are so many fantastic books about events that children will face, such as moving, starting school, celebrating special holidays, and making friends. Reading books together is a great way to help your children see what these experiences might be like and to give you an opportunity to talk about their questions or any fears they may have.

Share books that you enjoyed as a child.  

When my girls were close to starting kindergarten, I started reading them Ramona the Pest by Beverly Cleary, which I had read during my childhood. When I chose it, I only vaguely remembered that it was about Ramona starting kindergarten. I wasn’t sure if my girls would be able to follow a chapter book at that point, but they were very interested in the story, and they were able to remember events from the previous days when we read. My kids loved the story because it was about a girl their age, doing the same things that they liked to do. I loved getting to reread something that I had enjoyed as a kid.

We worked our way through all of the Ramona books by Beverly Cleary, and then we continued to other favorites of my husband’s and mine from our childhoods. We read Tales from a Fourth Grade Nothing, Superfudge, and Fudge-a-Mania by Judy Bloom; Trumpet of the Swan, by E.B. White; and the Bunnicula books by James Howe. Our girls loved these books because they are good stories, but also because my husband and I were excited to read them. We are currently reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. It’s easier to get the girls to put on their pajamas and get ready for bed right now because all I have to say is, “I’m so excited to read Harry Potter tonight,” and they will hurry to get ready for bedtime so we can start reading.

Listen to your children read aloud, even if they do it while you’re doing other things.

I hear a lot of parents say they don’t have time to read with their kids every night. While sitting one-on-one (or one-on-two, or more) creates some very special bonding time, I understand that it isn’t always feasible. If this is the case for you and your family, try to think of some other moments in your day when you could listen to your kids read aloud. This is a critical practice that is important to them improving and growing as readers, which helps them to enjoy reading more. I have had my girls read books aloud to me as I wash the dishes or while I’m cooking dinner. Even 5-10 minutes a day of reading practice will help your children progress their reading skills, which improves their confidence and enjoyment of reading.


Being a good reader makes so many other areas of school easier. Strong readers will have a more advanced vocabulary and will usually be better writers. Reading also exposes children to other perspectives and increases their knowledge about the rest of the world. One of the best ways you can help your children to be successful in school is to read with them and to help them cultivate an interest in books and reading.

5 Ways to Inspire a Love of ReadingIca Rewitz is a high school English teacher in Washington State.  She is married to a high school physics teacher, and they have twin girls who are currently six years old. When she isn’t mothering and teaching, Ica enjoys hiking in the mountains, reading books, and writing for her blog Twins Happen.

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