30 Ways To Help Your Child Become A Serious Book Lover and A Great Reader
Post on 17-Mar-2016
DESCRIPTIONA fabulous list of ideas to encourage, motivate, inspire and help your child become a serious book lover and a great reader.
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If youve been around my blog Heartfire At Home for any amount of time
you know how crazy I am about books. And, particularly how crazy I am
about books as part of the tapestry of a true home and as a grounding for
For me, if a house is to be a home for a child. It MUST have books in it
(and not just for decoration purposes!), plus a comfy place to become
immersed in those books.
As you know, Im mad about interior design and how we can make it more
holistic and connected to our lives. I blog joyfully about this concept, and
spend many, many hours helping those in my real offline world to do just
that in many ways.
What you may not know however, is Ive also been a practicing primary
school teacher as well for over 24 years (four days a week still), and Im
specifically trained (an extra year on top of my 4 year Bachelor Degree) in
the area of reading.
So, I know a tad about it.
Here then, are 30 ideas (plus a few more, and then one big one), to help
your child become a true lover of books. Most of these can be used with
picture story books for younger school age children, or longer chapter books.
30 WAYS TO HELP YOUR CHILD BECOME
A SERIOUS BOOK LOVER and A GREAT READER!
1. Read TO them, particularly books that are too hard for them at the
moment. The only way theyll get to hear amazing literature thats a
little bit hard for them is if someone (YOU) reads it to them.
2. Read WITH them. If you read along together, they can model their
expression and phrasing on yours. Great practice for them!
3. Listen to them read. And then, talk to them about what theyve
4. Praise them when they read well or figure out an unknown word.
5. Pause dont jump in immediately if they get stuck - give them a
chance to figure it out (around 10 to 20 seconds).
6. Prompt if theyre still stuck after youve paused appropriately,
give them a prompt (a clue), or just tell them the word. You dont
want to lose the flow of the story or else theyll forget what theyre
reading about and enjoyment will fade.
7. Take turns reading parts of a page, or a page each.
8. Read your own books sitting next to each other, and then share
your fave bits.
9. Read your own books sitting back to back human touch is a
10. Have poetry reading sessions find some funny poems and stand
up and read them aloud to each other!
11. Find some books with childrens plays in them and have a go at
practicing and performing them!
12. Get them to write their own scripts for a play and then perform
13. Ask interesting questions about the characters in the story -
Whats the worst thing thats happened to your favorite character in
the book? The best thing? Why do they think that? How do they feel
about..? What would you do if you were in their place?
14. At the end of a page or chapter ask them to predict what will
happen next in the story. High five if you were right!
15. Keep a chart with a gold sticker or star for every book read. When
you get to a pre-determined limit (5, 10, 20), go for a trip to the
bookstore and buy a favorite book.
16. Get out your scrapbooking materials and make up a scrapbook
page representing a character, a place, an object or an emotion from a
17. Draw a map of all the places in the story. Look at maps from The
Hobbit and Narnia for inspiration.
18. Get out paints, textas, pens, charcoal, all sorts of drawing
materials and make a picture about the story/book. Collage is great
19. Use sticky notes (kids LOVE them) to mark up favorite pages in a
story or book. Use these to refer to when looking for ideas to
20. Use sticky notes to stick on pages with unknown words that you
could look up later together.
21. Use sticky notes to stick on pages in non-fiction books that
provoke questions they would like answered, then Google more info
22. Use the interest generated in the last idea to create a mini project
or book on their topic of interest.
23. Use a program like audioboo to get the children reading aloud on
to the computer and creating podcasts of their reading to hear what
they sound like!
24. Get them to create a voki of their favorite character from a story
and make them say something appropriate for that character. Make
several vokis from the same book, each about a different character.
25. Let them create, build, and make stuff that relates to a book. a
castle out of boxes, a magic hideaway in the garden, a fairy ring to run
around, an animal out of clay or plasticine.
26. Create a special place in your home that gives reading importance.
Gorgeous seating, comfy cushions, a bookshelf within reach. Make
reading a priority.
27. Let them make books themselves. Kids LOVE this! Give them
paper, a stapler, pens, colored pencils whatever, and let them create
their own book. Dont be the spelling police or go over the top trying
to make it perfect remember, youre trying to develop a LOVE of
books. Spelling is a whole different lesson!
28. Give them book plates to paste/stick inside the covers of all their
own books to make them more special. Etsy has some great sellers for
this. Just search for book plates.
29. Let them have a torch to read for a few minutes (10? 20?) in bed
at night and make it a little secretive, special, just for them
experience. They will never forget this!
30. Let them read to their younger/older siblings. This makes them
feel special and like an expert especially if theyre reading a book
thats really easy for them to a younger brother or sister and talking
about the book with them, explaining the pictures to them etc.
NOW, keep reading for some extra tips
and one BIG idea at the very end!
Some Entertaining Extras:
1. Whatever you do. Make it fun! Go for picnics and take a book
each and have a picnic read-a-thon.
2. Sit under a shady tree on a hot day, or (horror), climb one together
and read a book up there (a-m-a-z-i-n-g).
3. Make a tree-house with shelves for special books.
4. Pitch a tent out in the back yard and read by torchlight.
5. Take a family photo with everyone peeking over their favorite
opened book and blow it up and put it on the wall near your special
reading corner or place. (LOVE it!)
6. Make trips to the library together stop and have afternoon tea
somewhere... make it as special as possible.
7. Read a book and then go to see the movie or borrow a DVD of the
same book and compare them.
8. Get creative in any way you can think of! Making books a part of
special memories will create a love for books and reading that will
And, one more thing for those children who already love
their books and for whom youd like to take things a little
You know how some grown-ups get together for a book club where they
each read the same book and then get together on a regular basis to discuss
Well. If your child is up to reading reasonably lengthy chapter books (like
Harry Potter, The Narnia series, The Hobbit, The Secret Garden etc), theres
no reason you cant do the same with a bunch of interested children!
This could be 3 to 5 kids all with the same book, and each week (or
whenever they meet) they could be assigned 3 or 4 chapters (or whatever suits), and could meet up at a parent's house to read out their favourite bits,
talk about any words/parts they may not have understood, discuss what the
characters are thinking or doing, and to guess/predict what they think is
going to happen in the next few chapters.
It could only take 30 mins or so, they could have a yummy afternoon snack,
and then they could have a quick play together and be picked up by their
If it was your own child plus 3 more, you could fit them all in one car, and
the parents could take turns picking them up from school on the designated
day each week. So, you'd only have to go and pick them up from wherever
they were. Good way to meet the other parents (or chat more with them), and also a good way for parents to get involved in a different way as the
parent whose home it was at would have to 'lead' the discussion somewhat.
You could even have your own adult book group for half an hour after theirs while they played if you were all feeling really industrious! Then they'd get to
see parents discussing books too (even though they'd be playing, they'd
notice). They may even choose to sit in! Although you'd have to pick child
friendly books - lol.
So in short.....
1. 3 to 5 kids with same book.
2. Get together once a week (or fortnight etc) for 30 mins of book time. 3. See if what they predicted the week before came true (see part 7 below).
4. Share their favourite part.
5. Share unknown words, bits they weren't sure of, or interesting thoughts
they may have about a happening or character (get them to make a note of
these while they're reading during the week, or use little post it notes to stick in the books).
6. Ask if there's anything they'd like to know more about and research. For
instance, they might be reading a fairytale that has dragons in it, and might
like to 'research' dragons and do a little project on them to bring and share the next week. Different kids would be interested in different things.
7. Ask them to predict what they think will happen next (write these down in
a little 'book club journal').
The steps above are based very loosely on the targeted group reading model
we shift to in the grade 3/4 areas in our schools in Australia, and are
fabulous for those children who are really up to getting more deeply involved
in what theyre reading.
Thanks so much for taking the time to get serious about helping your children LOVE books.
I hope my suggestions have given you something new to try or to think
about including in your family time!
Heartfire At Home Blog