Kids who read are awesome. They’re easy to entertain, relatively quiet when you need them to be quiet, and tend to have awesome imaginations and amazing deductive abilities. They’re fun. They carry on conversations about things well beyond many of their peers. They have interests in things that are vastly different from their peers that don’t read.
But how do you create one?
Make books available. Lots of books. All different kinds of books. Books on every subject, and of many varied reading levels. Keep books on hand that are a little above your child’s current reading level and books that are a little below it—maybe even a lot below it. Even big kids can still enjoy picture books, and old favorites should always be kept for as long as possible.
Have nonfiction books, too. Sure, these aren’t as good to cuddle up with and read over and over again, nor are they as inexpensive as many fiction books. However, a careful perusal of used bookstores will bring a good selection of nonfiction books on a variety of topics into your home—useful not only for encouraging your children’s curiosity, but for writing papers and essays as they advance through their homeschooling career.
Subscribe to magazines. Keep an eye out for deals on popular kids’ magazines—again, both fiction and nonfiction. Encourage their use. Consider giving assignments straight from these magazines. If they come with posters, hang them up to catch your children’s attention. Have them available and readily accessible, preferably in a place that is easily visible.
Read yourself…and let your kids see you doing it. Engage them in the books that you’re reading when they are appropriate for their age or reading level. Read the books that they’re reading. Let them see that you are interested in reading, and they will likely imitate you.
Read to them. Even older kids benefit from having books read to them—simple picture books right on up through chapter books. You can make it an evening ritual or a special treat, a weekly event or something that happens when you have a few spare minutes here and there, but however you do it, take the time every once in a while to read to them. Make it interesting—use funny voices, creative inflection, and discuss what you’re reading every once in a while.