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Posted in Family and Friends | September 2013

Inspire a love of reading

Ernest Hemingway once said, “There is no friend as loyal as a book.” As the author of American classics like “The Old Man and the Sea” and “A Farewell to Arms”, he may have been a little biased—but there is a lot of truth in his statement. Books teach, inspire, entertain and enlighten—and all the stories, knowledge and wonder they contain are always just a page turn away.

Those of us born before the age of home computers are probably very used to turning to books for entertainment and a quiet escape. ut now movies-on-demand, computer games and all kinds of electronic devices regularly compete with books for kids’ attention. Unfortunately things with bells, whistles and “easy fun” often win, leaving books on the shelf—literally and figuratively!

So how can you foster a love of reading in children who are growing up in this hyper plugged-in world? Happily, there are simple ways to encourage children to enjoy the magic of books.

  • Create the right atmosphere by turning off anything that moves or makes noise for at least a half hour each evening. This special quiet reading time can be a family affair with everyone sitting together reading their own books or listening while someone reads aloud.
  • Keep televisions and computers out of your child’s bedroom so they’re not tempted by the lure of technology when they could be in bed reading instead.
  • Take your child or grandchild to the library or bookstore to stock up! Do some research together in advance to determine the kinds of stories that are most interesting to the child. Having lots of books around increases the odds that the child will turn to them for entertainment.
  • Reminisce with your child about the books you loved to read when you were his or her age. If your child seems interested, dig out your old copy and pass it down!
  • Make a special, cozy reading nook somewhere in the house—a corner of the child’s room is ideal—to elevate the activity of reading. Only special things require special spaces, after all!
  • Read to your child or grandchild when they’re too young to read themselves, then read with them as they begin to learn.
  • Set a good example by stocking up on books for yourself too! Demonstrating your own love of reading is a good way to subtly encourage it in children.

The idea is to create a habit that can become a life-long pleasure. Just a little bit of effort on your part when your children or grandchildren are young may mean they’ll have those enchanting “loyal friends” for the rest of their lives.

For more great ideas and a quick quiz to help you determine if the things you’re already doing are helping to teach your child to love reading, visit For great reading lists for kids divided according to age, visit Teachers First.

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