Getting kids into books

A home filled with reading matter is a good way to help kids become enthusiastic and proficient readers.

A home filled with reading matter is a good way to help kids become enthusiastic and proficient readers.

What kind of books should you have?

Ask your children about their interests. If they're too young to have a preference your local librarian will offer suggestions about age-appropriate books.

Some tips:

l Keep a varied selection. Collect board books or books with mirrors and different textures for babies.

Older kids enjoy variety: fiction, nonfiction, poetry and dictionaries and other reference books. Kids can understand stories they might not be able to read.

If a more challenging book interests your child make it something to read together. Younger kids can look at illustrations and ask questions as they follow along.

l Don't limit reading matter to books. Kids might also enjoy magazines for kids, audio books, postcards from relatives, photo albums or scrapbooks, newspapers, comics and the Internet;

l Keep reading matter handy. Keep sturdy books with other toys for easy exploration. Books near the changing table can be helpful distractions for younger kids at appropriate moments.

Plastic books can even go in the bathtub.

Keep books next to comfy chairs and sofas where you cuddle up so you can read after feeding and naps.

l Create a special reading place. As kids grow up keep age-appropriate books and magazines on shelves they can reach.

Make these shelves appealing and organised. Place the books with the covers facing out so they're easy to spot. Put a basket full of books and magazines next to their favourite places to sit.

Create a cozy reading corner and encourage kids to use it by setting up a "reading corner time" each day;

l Make sure reading areas have good lighting. Change the materials often - add seasonal books, rotate different magazines and include books that relate to what kids are interested in or studying at school.

Decorate the corner with your child's artwork or writing. Place a CD or tape player nearby for audio books.

l Encourage kids to create the reading. Set up a writing and art centre and encourage kids to make books, posters or collages that they decorate with their own pictures and writing.

Kids love to read things they've written themselves or to share their creations with family and friends.

l Give children quiet time every day to read or write.

l Limit time kids spend in front of a TV, computer and video game.

l Read together. Offer to read aloud or ask your child to read to you. Sit together while you each read your own books. - Kidshealth