Inspire a love of reading in your child

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My children love to read. My little ones will bring piles of books, sit on my lap and listen to me read until my voice grows hoarse. I always enjoy seeing my oldest, who’s in second grade, curled up in a chair reading a good chapter book. I love to read and I’m so glad my children do as well.

March 2 was the birthday of famed children’s author and illustrator Dr. Seuss. Dr. Seuss wrote more than 60 books for children during his lifetime, 44 of which he also illustrated. His works are among the most popular children’s books and are some of my family’s personal favorites as well.

Each year, Dr. Seuss’ birthday is celebrated as National Read Across America Day. Many schools and libraries are celebrating with special Dr. Seuss themed activities this month. In celebration of National Read Across America Day, why not grab a good book (or two or three) and spend some quality time reading with your child today.

Whether you have a brand new baby or school aged children at home, here are a few tips to help inspire a love of reading in your child(ren) that will last a lifetime.

(1) Start early.
It’s never too early to start reading to your child. Because babies can hear and begin to recognize their parents’ voices even in the womb, reading aloud can be a way to bond with your baby even before he or she is born. Reading aloud to your infant improves vocabulary and language skills and introduces concepts such as numbers, letters, colors and shapes. Make reading time a special time of cuddling and bonding that your baby will associate with closeness and fun.

(2) Make books available.
Have a variety of reading material available all over the house. A stack of magazines on the coffee table, a bookshelf in each child’s room, even a basket of books in the bathroom—the more places kids can find books around the house, the more likely they are to pick up one and read it! Utilizing technology can also be a good way to motivate your child to read. If your child has a tablet, there are many ebooks he or she may enjoy. Listening to audiobooks in the car can also be a good way to pass the time during a long drive.

(3) Read to and with your child.
Reading aloud is not only important for babies and toddlers, but for school aged children as well. Reading aloud is a great way to spend quality time with your child(ren). Choose a book to read together as a family and make reading together a part of your daily routine. If your child can read, take turns—read a few pages or a chapter to him and them listen to him read to you.

(4) Visit the library regularly.
Incorporate a regular library visit into your weekly routine. Allow your child to explore the shelves and choose books on his own. Read a few books while you’re at the library and then bring a stack home to read later. Explore many different types of books to discover which your child is most interested in. Your local library may also offer children’s story time programs throughout the year and/or a summer reading incentive program during the summer months.

(5) Model it.
The next time you visit the library, check out a book for yourself. Let your children see you spend time reading for both pleasure and information. Talk about favorite books and/or authors with your child or discuss something interesting you read in a newspaper or magazine. Your children will see that you enjoy reading and will want to try it too!

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” – Dr. Seuss

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