You as a parent/guardian are most important to the equation. Your time and interest will spark your child's.
First, lead by example. Let your children see you reading the newspaper or magazines. Occasionally read something age-appropriate and of interest out-loud to the family. Turn off (or not turn on) the television to curl up with a good book. Discuss books with friends. And refer to books for information rather than going to the computer all of the time.
Second, read the same book as your child(ren) so that you can discuss it with them. Play 'games' like guessing the ending ahead of time, or what will happen next, or what would have happened if.
Third, have your child 'help' you by reading a recipe out-loud step by step as you make a treat for the family. Or read craft instructions and then do the craft together. Give your child a short written list of groceries to get for you while shopping (be specific as to brand or add info like label color, etc). This usually works well with canned vegetables or soups.
Make reading fun and not a chore. Never criticize a child's choice of reading materials (unless they are very inappropriate). I had one child that hated reading any type of fiction until around 4th grade, but he devoured non-fiction material- how to, animal life, science, biography, space, etc. Then he went into a total fantasy phase. It keeps evolving but now he will read almost anything. My daughter loved "Junie B. Jones" books (while I disliked them because of the vernacular spelling and grammar), but she outgrew them in time. Both of my children now read several 'grades' above their current level and like to visit the library for new material regularly. It is never too early or too late to start.
By Melodyy from Oak Ridge, TN
Read feedback for this post below. Click here to post feedback.
This is excellent advice, which I lived as my children grew. They rarely saw me without a book handy. I'm happy to say at least my older daughter is carrying on the tradition, albeit with a Kindle rather than traditional books.
Add your voice to the conversation.