30 Days to Make a Lifetime Reader


This article was originally published at Sixty Second Parent Magazine.  The author, Karen Hokanson Miller, is one of the most positive and kind people I know and has raised four amazing kids.

What makes a child love reading? What makes anyone do anything? When it’s Fun!  Carving out time in one’s busy day for reading might seem difficult.  But after 30 days, the time it takes to establish a new habit, you’ll find more time for making reading fun.Here are hints to get your child started on the adventure of reading.

  • Kids learn from example. Let them see you read in the house, in the park, anywhere!
  • Take outings to the bookstore and library.
  • Ask for books as gifts. Let the gifter know your child’s favorite animals, hobbies and passions so they can find the perfect book.
  • Use MP3 downloads or CDs for read-alouds. Audio books build vocabulary. Just make sure you choose” unabridged” instead of “abridged” books.  (Condensed books don’t have the books’ real flavor. )
  • Make a little library in their room or on a bookshelf.
  • Buy cheap books at garage sales and flea markets.
  • Plan play activities that involve books-picnics, crafts, or science projects.
  • Let them ‘read’ stories to their dolls or younger siblings.
  • Play reading games- let them cross off items in shopping lists, put name-tags around the house, play school, bookstore, and library.
  • Read to your child every day.
  • When you read, make it an Oscar performance. Use different voices for characters in books. Act out exciting passages. Pretend to be the character in a book.
  • If your child loses interest in a book, wrap it up quickly.
  • Don’t make reading time “teaching” time. No vocabulary lessons. If there are 5 or more words on the page that your child doesn’t understand, try a book on a lower reading level.
  • Immerse children in fiction and non-fiction. (Some children are not interested in ”make believe.”)
  • When your child enjoys a particular book, be willing to read it over and over again.
  • Let your child participate as much as possible in reading- let him finish the sentence, read the pictures, take turns reading, etc.
  • Have a family reading time after meals. Have one member of the family read aloud as the rest do the dishes.
  • Do a reading night with popcorn and blankets, instead of movie night.

Books to Get You Started

How to Get Your Child to Love Reading: For Ravenous and Reluctant R… by Esme Codell

Reading Magic: Why Reading Aloud to Our Children Will Change Their … by Mem Fox

Reading Together-Everything you Need to Know to Raise a Child to Read by Diane W. Frankenstein

The New York Times Parent’s Guide to the Best Books for Children by Eden Ross Lipson

The Read Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease


Karen Hokanson Miller – Karen is a reading specialist, children’s author,  and mother of 4 formerly reluctant readers.

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