How to Make Reading Fun in 5 Steps

how to make reading fun for your child

Your child’s first impression of reading matters. It stays with them throughout their lives. It sets the tone, not only for their future reading experiences, but for their lives as students, citizens, and even future parents. So parents of young children might wonder how to make reading fun.

By making reading fun early, you can ensure that your child’s first impression of books paves the way to become a lifetime reader. 

When Should You Start Reading to Your Baby?

One might wonder, “When should I start reading to my baby?” 

The answer is simple: From birth

If you want to learn how to help your child read, start ASAP. Begin right away — from the day your little one enters the world. Early exposure to reading sets the stage for you to raise a lifetime reader

“But can an infant understand what I’m reading?”

The answer: YES.

While your infant might not understand the meaning of words or sentences, he does understand the excitement of high-contrast pictures, the soothing nature of your voice, and the safe experience of bonding with you. This lays the groundwork. As he grows, he’ll learn to associate words with pictures, and you’ll see this reflected as he begins to talk!

Your Role as Your Child’s “Matchmaker” with Books

Think of introducing your baby to books as playing “matchmaker” with reading. You’re introducing the two because you know that they each have something wonderful to offer. 

Consider how you have the power to guide your child to a wonderful relationship with reading: 

Research shows us the long list of benefits of reading aloud for infants, toddlers, and big kids alike. It empowers language development, critical-thinking skills, social-emotional skills, self-discipline, focus, creativity, and a desire to learn. 

By starting early, you lay the groundwork for cognitive growth, provide access to the benefits of reading aloud, and set up a future of success in school and in life.

Talk about Books

It’s all a matter of presentation! The way you talk about books matters, perhaps as much as the experience of reading aloud does.

Ponder these thoughts: 

●Are you only focusing on and rewarding completing a book? Or are you encouraging your child to enjoy the process? 

●Are you framing reading as a chore or punishment? Or are you presenting it as a fun, exciting activity? 

●Are you making your child feel bad for not understanding a word or concept? Or are you encouraging her to make mistakes, learn from them, and grow in the process?

When you wonder how to make reading fun, just remember that it’s a multilayered process. As a parent, you can create a warm, inviting reading environment, making reading an enriching and enjoyable activity.

Role Model Reading

Children are perceptive. The way parents approach reading will influence how children perceive it.

As a parent, you serve as the primary role models in your child’s life. Adopting a positive attitude toward books and learning is crucial. If you want them to learn how to make reading fun, find joy in it yourself! Share your own reading experiences, discuss interesting stories, and make reading a family event. 

Share the benefits of reading aloud by being fully present and engaged during your daily family reading sessions. 

A First Impression Lasts a Lifetime

Taking time to help you child enjoy reading can change their lives forever. The benefits of reading aloud are gifts they can take with them into multiple areas of their lives as they grow.

Let’s take a look…

1. As a Student

A child’s first impression of reading goes beyond the pages of a book. It significantly impacts academic success, critical thinking, and empathy. When they’re confident readers, they can become confident learners in multiple subjects. 

2. Readers Today, Leaders Tomorrow

Research shows us that children who gain strong literacy skills early in life are not only more likely to succeed in school, but they also have increased confidence, a desire to learn, and stronger neural connections. The benefits of reading aloud to young children weave into their lives as they learn, grow, and become adults.

Literacy shapes a child’s future role in society and as a potential future parent. The lessons learned through books help them become well-rounded individuals capable of leading and contributing to their communities.

How to Make Reading Fun

“Okay! I’m convinced! How can I get started?”

If you can’t wait to give your child a great first impression of reading, try these strategies to make reading fun.

1. Approach it as Play

Make reading exciting! Throw in different voices and expressions, and keep it lively. Approach reading as the adventure it is. Go along with your child’s imagination and find ways to incorporate the stories into your daily conversations and activities. 

2. Bond Through Books

Make it a special time to bond, creating memories that stick. Use storytime as an opportunity to connect emotionally with your child. When it’s stressful or not going your way, take a deep breath and be gentle with yourself and your child. It’s okay if every reading time isn’t ‘perfect.’ Keep going, and keep it positive. 

3. Encourage Choice

Allow your child to choose their own books. Autonomy fosters a sense of ownership and interest in reading. Guide them towards age-appropriate choices, but let them have a say in what stories they want to explore. This is especially helpful if you’re struggling to learn how to help your child read more.

4. Create a Reading-Friendly Home

Design a cozy and inviting reading space at home. Pay attention to lighting, comfortable seating, and minimal distractions. A welcoming environment can add to the reading experience.

5. Read Aloud

Continue accessing the benefits of reading aloud even as your child becomes an independent reader. This practice not only strengthens their reading skills but also maintains the emotional connection and special memories bonding your family together. 

Your Child’s First Impression of Reading Depends on You! 

Free resources reading tips

At Read Aloud America, we believe a child’s first impression of reading matters, and that parents – YOU – are the answer to “how to make reading fun!” The fact is, you have an incredible role in making sure this first impression is a good one. 

By starting early, making reading fun, bonding through books, encouraging choice, and creating a reading-friendly home, you can lay the foundation for a lifelong love of reading. 

Need help getting started? Explore Read Aloud America’s 2024 Free Reading List: An annual compilation of age-level books and resources.

Find more free resources here!

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