We have been blessed with a baby who loves books. He is constantly pulling them off the shelf, dragging them over to us, and plopping down in our laps for a story. With a librarian for a dad, books may just be in Sam's DNA, but there are a few things I think we can do as parents to help foster the love of reading at an early age.
Read with your children every day.
Make time to read with your child every day. Maybe it's part of your bedtime routine. Maybe you're family settles in for spontaneous story time. Sam loves sitting in my nap and turning the pages. We rarely read a story front to back. We shift around, read words here or there, talk about the pictures. Most of the time when Sam reads by himself the books are upside down. Whatever it looks like, make sure it's happening in your home daily.
Make books available in your home. All over your home.
We have lots and lots of books in our house, in every room. We want to make sure reading is a part of play no matter where Sam runs off to. Most of our books live in a create on the playroom floor. And most of the time Sam can be found surrounded by his favorite stories.
Don't stress about most.
We are in the phase where, given the chance, Sam will destroy books with paper pages. Because of that we keep lots of heavy-duty board books on hand. And we keep them at his level. I get so much joy seeing Sam engage with books, even if it's just pulling one after another off the lowest shelf.
Keep some special.
That being said, we don't keep every book at Sam's level. We have lots of paper-back books waiting to be moved down (once eating paper has lost its appeal). We also have a growing stack of really special books. These are ones we want to keep nice, pass down to our grand-kids, etc. Sometimes books can be works of art and we love displaying Sam's collection.
Share in the reading.
It's so important for us as parents to read, read, read! And not to them, but with them. Ask them questions. Have them point out various things. Let them turn the pages, read words if they're able. Share in the reading experience. It's not a lecture. It's an adventure!
If we want our kiddos to grow up to be readers, we must first be readers ourselves. Let your kids catch you reading the morning paper. Talk about your favorite books. Organize family reading time and make it a special event. Show your kids that you love reading and empower them to fall in love with reading, too.