Sharing the Reading Bug


I love books. I love books so much we have a wall lined with a shelf stuffed to the brim with additional stacks around the house. (In my opinion, it’s not hoarding if you are “collecting” books and plan to read them.) Barnes & Noble, the library, and The Little Professor are my go-to places when I’m having a bad day.

Needless to say, I very much want to share my passion for books and reading with my child. I want him to have his brain and heart enriched by wonderful stories.
At 19-months old, it makes my heart ache with joy that one of his favorite activities is to sit in a mommy chair (a.k.a. in my lap) and bring books from his shelf over to me to read. At first this only occurred right before bed time, but now this also happens at random times throughout the day.  
Around 11-months old he was standing in his crib and sneakily reaching for books, dragging them into his crib, and making cute noises while flipping pages himself at the end of nap time or in the morning while I watched him via the baby monitor. What stories he was telling himself and words he was attempting to say, I’m not sure. All I know is I’ve seemingly (gratefully) instilled at least an early love of reading.
How did we get to this early bookworm stage? Here are a few things that have worked for us.

1. Bedtime Reading Routine

We started reading books to the baby at 4-months old when I’m not sure he knew where his nose was. Nevertheless, I hope that the early practice of bath, bedtime book, snuggle, and bed is a tradition that sticks around for 18 more years (is that too much to ask?). 

2. Reading with Excitement

At the end of the day, sometimes I’m so worn out that I am practically reciting the bedtime book. However, the times I read with more enthusiasm and extra noises, I’ve noticed my son has picked up more words and has more of an understanding of the story. Get them excited about reading by reading with excitement!

3. Have “The One”: A Security Blanket Book

We have been reading one or two particular books every night over and over, and he reaches to these books as if they are security blankets. I think this repetition has turned into a comfort, and in turn, has helped with him learning to look forward to reading.

4. Have a Variety

In addition to our old stand by, I have a book we read before the regular security blanket bedtime book to encourage him to learn new words, story lines, and fun new artwork to keep reading interesting.

5. Have Books Around

I think that having books around and available to kids encourages a love of reading because they are curious about the world around them. Plus, I know Sammy likes to pull books out of shelves for fun. A love of books+tactile learning=win-win. 

6. Go to the Library for Fun

We love taking Sammy to the library. Not only does he get to see books there, there are plenty of other fun activities there too to make positive associations with reading and books, such as puppetry and puppets, an interactive sensory wall, and computers geared towards use by children (shout out to Hoover Public Library!)

7. Read Yourself

A refrain I’ve heard often is that if you want a child who loves to read, you should love to read and let them see you reading as well. We our are children’s first teachers. I’m convinced if they see us excited to read for fun, then they will follow suit.
While I’m fairly sure he has inherited my cheek dimple and impatience, I hope he inherits this love of reading as a permanent trait as well.