14 Ways to Promote Reading at Home

We're often asked how we taught Pie to read at such an early age (at about 3 and a half she started on sight word books).  Perhaps they are hoping to hear about our super top-secret magic trick, but the truth is we just read... a lot. Every single day, without exception, we read around and with Pie and now she reads around and with us. 

Our bedtime routine is ridiculously long, it sometimes takes over an hour to go from "it's bed time" to closing that bedroom. That is because every night we read her three books (or three chapters if we're reading a chapter book) and she reads one herself before getting into pj's and brushing her teeth. Even on nights we stay out late, we read in the car on the way home so that no storytimes are missed. If we forgot to bring books or stories aren't available, YouTube has a million short children's books for those nights. Some even read by their author. She knows no other way of life, it's what we've done since the day she was born. Before that even...
homeschool, home school, virtual school, kindergarten, kindergarten homeschool, education, learning, homeschool mom, homeschool family, reading, early reader, early reading, reading tips, kids reading
Unfortunately, we have no secret magic trick, just a lot of love for reading. There are probably a ton of things we could add to this list as time goes on, but for now it's a great start.  Here are 14 ways you can promote reading: 

14 Ways to Promote Reading at Home

  1. Have books. Simple, right? Especially when libraries lend you books for free. Buy and borrow books where and when ever you can. When I was pregnant, we bought used books from thrift stores and asked our moms for our favorite old books. Luckily our moms save just about everything, so our collection was off to a great start. Then after Pie was born, we signed up for library cards and make a trip there at least twice a month, sometimes more. We also frequent a few local bookstores in our area and always head home with armloads of new favorites. 
  2. Read about the things that interest your child. Pie loves dogs, more than just about anything, so we find all kinds books on dogs. We'll be sharing some of our favorite books this summer, you can bet there will be plenty of dog themed ones, we hope you'll share your favorites too. If your kid likes something more than anything, find them books, comics, or magazines about it. 
  3. Use your finger to follow along. Part of the reason sight words came easily to Pie was that we always use our finger when we read. Now it helps her stay on track with her own reading too. Otherwise she gets ahead of herself or loses her place.  This year she started collecting bookmarks to help her with those big chapter books.  
  4. Closed Captioning. Such a wonderful tool for helping Pie learn her sight words.  Why not utilize something almost all of your channels already offers? Some may think it would be annoying, but the only time I ever notice it's on is when guest come and ask about it. Once they're reading, remember to pay attention to the shows you leave on... Pie learned a few new words recently from the news that was on mute. 
  5. Start with books they know. Most kids I know have a few favorite books. We started her reading off by letting Pie read a book she already had memorized which helped her start to recognize the words she already knew. Not only was she thrilled to be able to read her favorites, but she gained confidence in her ability and started recognizing more words. 
  6. Give them a chance. While reading out loud, stop at a word and ask them to read it. Or let your child play a part and read for one of the characters. Participating together is fun and now that Pie is into comic books she does the voices for some of the characters.  Let them get involved. 
  7. Watch the movie. Scholastic Weston Woods have an incredible series of the classics, hundreds of short videos of books for kids. DVD comes with the option to read along. There are also tons of classic chapter books have been made into movies over the years, (Freaky Friday (old and new), RamonaMr. Popper's PenguinsRalph S. MouseJames and the Giant Peach, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (old and new), Lemony Snicket), and your local library probably has most of these books and DVD's. If not, YouTube has more than a few too. Just knowing that there's a movie to come gives Pie an added incentive to finish a book. She loves watching a book come alive and if there's a movie we try to save it for the end of the book. One of my favorite things is when she calls out the movie for being different from the book, it tells me she's really been paying attention. 
  8. Let them play. When I read aloud to Pie she sometimes snuggles in and pays close attention. Other times she plays quietly with her toys or climbs all over the place. There once was a time when I would argue with her to sit and listen, but over time I realized she was paying attention while she played. And to be honest, I'd rather her not associate the pressure of having to sit still with our quiet reading time. There have been plenty of times I've even heard her acting out the book as we read it, so let them play! 
  9. Ask around. Ask your librarian, ask someone at your local bookstore, ask google, ask your mom, ask your dad, ask your sister or brother, ask your friends, ask goodreads.comask epicreads.com, ask me! There are a million ways to get great book recommendations. In a world of opinions, there are so many places to find a great book for you or your child! 
  10. Talk about it. Discuss the characters, talk about what a setting and plot are and what they were in the story, and talk about your favorite parts. What is an antagonist/protagonist, who were they in the story? What do you think happened after the story ended? How would you have changed the story? Pie's has become a pro at predicting stories from so many discussions like these. 
  11. Read everything. Chapter books, poems, short stories, the Sunday comics, how-to books, web stories, newspapers, comic books, magazines, the grocery list, street signs in the neighborhood, etc. Words are everywhere, read them with your kid then have them read it to you when they're ready. From practicing her street signs, Pie knows her town very well, her neighborhood, roads all across town, highway names, and safety signs. Read everything. 
  12. Make it fun. Here's my truth, I wasn't the driving force behind Pie reading. My husband has 100x more patience than I did with teaching her to read. They butt heads a lot less than her and I do, probably because we spend all day together, so by night-time stories she's ready for a change. So while we still read together during the day, he helped her through the tough parts with way more finesse. He has the ability to make reading fun, but even they have their days. When it's not fun we walk away and try again another day. 
  13. Let them see you reading. No matter how many times we say something, our kids replicate the things they see, not what you tell them. At the end of the day, I would rather Pie see me reading than watching tv or playing on the phone. Though, I will admit to zoning out in a book just like someone zoning out on their phone... but I feel way less guilt for it at the end of the day. 
  14. Use online tools. Starfall.comJumpStartPBSkids.comStoryline Online,Funbrain.comLit2GoLibriVox (free audiobooks online), Storyplace.org,HighlightsKids.comABCYa.com, ReadtoMeWeGiveBooks.comBarnes and Noble's Online StorytimeChildrensLibrary.org Let us know any we missed so we can add them to the list! 
homeschool, home school, virtual school, kindergarten, kindergarten homeschool, education, learning, homeschool mom, homeschool family, reading, early reader, early reading, reading tips, kids reading

Bonus Early Reader Book List: 

There are hundreds of beginner readers at your local library, ask your librarian to show you the books for your early reader's reading level. We'll be sharing more of our favorite books coming up on the blog, but to start here are some of Pie's favorites from when she started reading on her own: 

Share with us your readers favorite books when starting to read. We're really looking forward to sharing more of our favorites too. Do you have any tips to add? How did you help your child to become a reader? What books do you recommend for someone trying to help their kid get started? 


In order to comment on BlogHer.com, you'll need to be logged in. You'll be given the option to log in or create an account when you publish your comment. If you do not log in or create an account, your comment will not be displayed.