There’s nothing like good, old-fashioned visits to the library to get your kids interested in reading and encouraging them to become avid readers themselves.
You can start bringing your children to the library as early as infancy—around six months of age, or when they start to become interested in looking at the pictures in books. Make sure your baby is well-fed and well-rested before your trip so he’ll be able to enjoy himself and you’ll find it easy to keep his attention on the books you’ll show him. For infants and toddlers who are still interested in putting any and all objects in their mouths, board books are thick and strong enough to sustain the chewing and saliva of your baby’s mouth. Spend some time reading to your baby in the library and walk your baby around to look at all the books.
Libraries these days tend to allow you to check out a very large number of books. Our local library lets us check out fifty books at a time! Bring a colorful, fun bag to carry the books home with that you check out. Since many other babies have touched and put their mouths on the board books you’ve checked out, when you get home, take some organic, baby-friendly sanitizing wipes and wipe the books down. Then, read often to your baby from the selection of books you’ve bought.
As for older children, take them to the library when they’re also well-fed and well-rested so that they don’t get cranky. Show them your own favorite children’s books and let them pick out books that they’re interested in, too. You can take turns reading to them and having them read to you. Have them check out a pre-determined number of books and enjoy them with your child during story time before bed or any other time you want to read with them at home.
Each child has a different attention span. Never force a child to read or listen when they don’t want to. Oftentimes you’ll find that they’re tired or hungry, and you yourself don’t like doing things when you’re tired or hungry either, do you? Letting a child read and be read to on his own determinism helps him to have a positive association with reading.
Make sure to check out a book or two yourself, and read it between library trips and finishing it before you return it. This will set a positive example for your children to follow.
With the above tips, you’ll be on your way to raising children who are avid, proficient readers with a bright future ahead of them, while establishing a family tradition everyone will be talking about for years to come!