Children gravitate toward toys, games, and activities that they consider fun. Curious and adventurous by nature, they thrive when they’re presented with opportunities to learn, use their imaginations, and express themselves. They’re even keen to accept new and exciting challenges—hence the reason puzzles, sports, and LEGOs remain popular pastimes. Books are exceptional because they check all these boxes (and more!).
Parents recognize the numerous benefits that books offer their children because they themselves have reaped—and continue to reap—those benefits. Consider, for instance, the last book you read that you loved—how it swept you up in its pages, how you couldn’t wait to finish the final chapter, how it made you look at the world differently. Perhaps after you finished it, you even recommended the book to a friend or family member so they, too, could delight in a similar experience. That’s the key word here: experience. No matter our age, books hold the power to educate, enlighten, challenge, and move us. Raising a reader is important, and as a parent, you have the unique opportunity to influence your child’s attitude toward reading.
Here are our top ten favorite ways to help your child view books as the portals they are—portals that guide us into worlds full of interesting characters, settings, and cultures.
That said, let the fun begin . . .
When you invite your child to read with you, you are sending a twofold message: I think reading is fun, and I want to spend time with you. This tip applies to family members as well; encourage older siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and others to read to your child whenever they can so your child can have fun reading with different people and, therefore, different personalities.
Get your child excited about a book’s content by pairing it with an adventure. For example, you could say, “Let’s read this book about worms, and then we’ll go out in the backyard to see if we can find some!” Or, if you’re aware that the book your child is about to read contains an image of an ice cream cone, you could try, “Keep your eyes peeled for a sweet treat in this book . . . if you find it, we’ll go get that that dessert once we’re done reading!”
Children’s books contain so many colorful and eye-catching illustrations, which is why it’s fun to use them as inspiration. After you’ve finished reading one or more books to/with your child, retrieve some art supplies and invite your child to draw the characters or scenes they remember most from the book. When they’re finished, display their artwork on the fridge or elsewhere in your home.
Most children relish being in the spotlight—and just like adults, they feel good when they receive compliments. If your child is beginning to learn how to read, you might want to suggest recording a video of them reading aloud so you can share it with family and friends. Maybe after grandma watches the video, for example, she can call and say how proud she is; how she can’t wait for the next one; how much she loved the story. If your child likes being silly, you could even suggest filming a “commercial” for the book in which your child talks about all the reasons why their friends should read it.
If you’re the parent of an infant or toddler, invite some fellow parents over and ask them to bring their favorite children’s books, including Spanish children’s books. Together, you can take turns reading to the group. Doing so will instill in the children the notion that reading doesn’t always have to be something you do alone. The same can be said for children who are a bit older: invite their friends over for a “reading party.” They can read to each other, and you can also step in and read to them as well.
Local libraries want to support parents who are raising bookworms. Most libraries, therefore, offer age-specific programming designed to make reading fun. A weekly storytime session at the library, for example, would be an event that both you and your child could look forward to; storytime at the library typically involves the librarian reading a book, sing-alongs, and sometimes even themed crafts.
If your child is old enough to enjoy watching movies, another way you could make reading fun is by pairing a book with a movie. Many fantastic children’s movies have been based off of books, so you could encourage your child to read the book first, and then their “reward” would be a movie night with you and/or some friends.
As children continue to embrace reading and explore different authors, they’ll be interested in finding new titles, especially those in a series. To make reading fun for your child, consider purchasing a subscription box service, including a Spanish subscription box, that can give your child access to a new and entertaining selection of books curated just for them. They’ll quickly begin to look forward to receiving books in the mail because it’s so exciting to receive a box with their name on it.
When a child opens a book, they activate their imagination. If your child is not only learning how to read, but also learning how to form sentences, we suggest encouraging your child to write a little book of their own that’s inspired by one of the books they’ve read with you. You can help them write their book by asking open-ended questions such as, “What do you think would be a good name for your character? Where does your character live? Does your character have a superpower?” Once the book is finished, you can read it together as well as share it with others.
If you have a dog, cat, or other pet in your home, invite your child to read to their furry (or non-furry!) friend. You can also line up dolls and/or stuffed animals to make your child feel as if they are reading to an attentive and supportive audience. Children value knowing that there’s someone out there listening and paying attention to them.
To raise a reader, you must strive to make books appealing. We’re confident you can do that by following one or more of these creative tips.
On a final note, we’d like to share how amazing it is that books are tailored to join us throughout every single stage of our lives. If you give a child a book now and make reading fun for them, it’s a beautiful thing to stop and imagine, if only for a moment, how many more books they are bound to savor in the years to come.
If for some reason you don’t care for one of the items appearing in the list above, we've composed an extra one for you. See below.
Imagine how exciting it would be for your child to stumble upon a note that you tucked inside one of their books. Your note can say anything you’d like, but here are two examples: “I feel so proud of you when I see you read books!” and “After you get done with this book, let’s go for a walk.” In the same vein, you could purchase books for your child that you enjoyed when you were their age and place a note inside each, telling them what you specifically loved about a certain page or character. For example: “When Mommy was a little girl, she loved looking at this picture of [insert details here]” or, “When Daddy was a little boy, he liked to pretend that he was [insert character name here]!”