Developing Kids Who Love to Read

As I was packing up boxes and boxes of books for their move across town last year, a thought struck me several times, I don’t think I have ever met anyone with so many books!

delilah-on-book-boxes

Delilah on top of the book boxes

Literally thousands of books filled the bookshelves of their basement library, with boxes stacked from floor to ceiling. A week into the project, just when I thought the book packing was complete, I was told there was another library…upstairs. I couldn’t imagine! Hundreds more books overflowed on the shelves of the kids’ library; amazing!

My position as a 3rd party writer for this article is truly unique in that I have seen Chris Brady and Terri Brady live exactly what they teach. Not only are they fervent readers themselves, but all four of their children LOVE to read!

It seems appropriate then that one of the most popular Life parenting audios the Brady’s have recorded to date is about reading.

So, for those of you who have children (or plan to have children one day), Chris and Terri Brady offer some tips below that may be helpful to you on your own parenting journey of developing kids who love to read.

“It goes beyond just getting kids to read. The real goal is to help them fall in love with reading. Not just become kids who read, but become kids who LOVE to read.” – Chris Brady

Here are some of the things we did to help our children learn to love reading.

First, what we didn’t do:

  • We didn’t make TV or video games a first option for entertainment. We made books the #1 thing!
    • We had to make the decision to change our habits to ‘not have visual media’ vs. the habit to ‘have visual media.’
      • Once in a while visual media as a treat is okay, but not as a habit.
  • We didn’t let our children watch TV or play video games which then opened the door for them to entertain themselves with reading as their first option when they were looking for something to do.
    • Reading isn’t just part of their lives, but a BIG part of their lives – to the point that they want to grow and change with it.

Some of the things we did do:

  • We read to them even as babies. It created a habit where they just became used to the concept.
  • Regardless of whether they were even paying attention, we just READ (out loud)!
  • When they grew out of the nap time stage, we developed a ‘quiet time’ in their day.
    • cb-and-cmWe would read two books together and then leave the pile of books on the floor for them and walk out of the room.
    • The kids were then able to make the choice themselves- did they want to nap or read books? 
  • Once they grew out of quiet time stage, we created a habit of ‘reading time’ instead.  
  • We would take our kids to used book stores, and we still do even as they’ve gotten older. 
  • We ask questions about the books that they are reading. 
  • We set reading goals with our kids.

How YOU can personally impact your kid’s love for reading:

  • Be the example.
    • Instead of picking up your phone when you are waiting in the car, at a doctor’s appointment, or at halftime of the soccer game- pick up a book. Even if it’s just for 10 minutes.
  • Read a book out loud as a family.
    • In the car, by the fire, etc.
  • Don’t worry so much about how organized your bookshelves are. The books that get read are the books that are on the table.
  • Set a timer.
    • For example: 15 minutes of “mom’s choice” books and then the rest of the hour “your choice” books.
  • Take trips to the library.
    • There’s so much fruit in the library that you can harvest.
    • Set a timer here too, if necessary.
  • For road trips, instead of watching DVD’s in the car, buy your kid’s book lights so they can read at night.

“When I got rid of all my excuses I had for NOT reading and made them reasons TO read, I learned that it helped me influence my children to love reading.” – Terri Brady

nate-and-casey

A few more thoughts…

  1. Be sure to elevate reading as a great concept in and of itself and make reading the reward (and not the drudgery) that leads to a different reward.
  2. Our reading should be guided by our desire to grow as leaders fashioning us into becoming better people, and that should be the goal for our children as well.
  3. Helping your kid’s learn to fall in love with reading is one of the most important tools they will need to be successful.

Finally, by implementing a few of these behaviors, your kid’s will eventually discover on their own that reading is a joyous and rewarding activity. Once you lead the horse to water and you get him drinking, he will keep drinking, and that’s what we have seen with our own children.

Reading is important in the life of adults for sure, and if that’s true, then we should strive to cultivate reading in the lives of our children as well. We will then reap the blessing of watching the fruit grow as a result. Developing kids who love to read is a great stewardship, a great responsibility, and a great blessing and joy all by itself.

(Posted by Kristen Seidl, on behalf of Chris Brady)

 

2 responses to “Developing Kids Who Love to Read

  1. I love this blog, and the cd! Chelsea and I have followed this with our children so far. Careful what you wish for cause it will come true! Our oldest is a little over 2 and he wakes up around 5am to put a pile of books in your lap and say read. We even help him build his own little library.

  2. Pingback: Family Favorites… Book List | Letters to Lindsey

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