With the wind and snow whirling outside, sometimes the best idea for a winter afternoon is to forgo the frozen temperatures and snuggle up with a good book. Below, we’ve compiled a list of some of our favourite books to read with our kids, along with some tips on how to create a passion for reading in your children from a young age. What are some ways that you’ve encouraged your children to read?
Raising Your Kids to Become Readers
With screens becoming prevalent even in early childhood (though doctors strongly recommend no screen time before age two), our children’s generation are much less likely to be lifelong bookworms. Why read a biography when there’s Wikipedia? Why read an exciting novel when there’s Netflix? And what’s at stake? Experts agree that children who don’t spend time reading each day struggle to process their emotions, delay gratification, and have a hard time listening well in school. While we can’t guarantee that reading will be every child’s passion, there is a lot that parents can do to build their child’s interest and love for the literary world.
1. Be a reading Role Model
Our kids are watching our actions even more than they are listening to our words. This means it’s crucial that we model the value of reading as well as lessen the presence of screens in our own lives. When you’re with your children, put down your phone. Before reaching for the remote, grab a book. Talk about the books you’re reading right now and share your excitement about them. My parents didn’t do much in the way of verbally encouraging me to read, but they always had stacks of books in their bedside tables and I’d overhear them recommending books to friends which ended up shaping me into the adult and mom that I am.
2. Create a good reading environment
The environment of our homes speaks volumes to what we value. If you want your children to love books, fill their space with your favourite titles (see our favs below), and lots of comfortable places to curl up and read. Keep yourself in mind as you’ll be the one reading for little ones who haven’t learned yet! Child-sized furniture is cute, but mom & dad need a place to sit too! If there isn’t room in the space or your budget for a comfortable adult-sized chair, grab some inexpensive large pillows for the floor and add some extra blankets to make any corner soft and inviting.
3. Read, read, read!
Reading aloud to your children, buying books with engaging illustrations, and making time for reading daily are the keys to instilling a passion for reading in their hearts. When your child asks you for the tenth time to read their favourite book do your best to say yes and nurture their interest. And when your voice is hoarse or you need a break, don’t forget about audio books!
Favourite Books for 0-3 Years
- Brown Bear, Brown Bear
- What Do You See by Bill Martin Jr.
- Pat the Bunny by Dorothy Kunhardt
- The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
- Where’s Spot by Eric Hill
- Moo Baa La La La by Sandra Boynton
- The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
Favourite Books for 3-5 Years
- We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury
- Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
- If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff
- Llama Llama Red Pyjama by Anna Dewdney
- Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney
Favourite Series for Junior Readers
- Magic Treehouse and Merlin Missions series by Mary Pope Osborne
- Nancy Clancy series by Jane O’Connor
- Spiderwick Chronicles by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black
- Ivy and Bean series by Annie Barrows
- Geronimo Stilton Series by Geronimo Stilton
Emily is a freelance writer, blogger, and mom of three little ones. When she’s not traveling the world with her family, Montreal is home, where you can find her exploring the local markets, making a mess in her kitchen, and brewing a cup of tea. Find her on Instagram (@emmorrice) and check out her lifestyle blog, Our Nest In The City, where she documents it all.