I have loved books and I want my kids to love them as well. 6 Steps that I take as a mother of two toddlers in hope to instill love of books in them are:
1) Buy books.
Sometimes we are so caught up in buying them clothes and toys that we forget to buy them books. I think I have personally bought more books for them than toys. And actually made few myself for them as well. one example of an interactive fruit book I made for my baby can be seen here:
2) Read to them.
The best way to help your young child grow the love of books is : Read TO them. Instead of telling a story from memory all the time, we take few minutes break every day where I READ to them from the book they have chosen for themselves. I began reading to them pretty early, and treated it as a bonding time for myself and my children as well as something that will help them love their books in future insha Allah. They are now used to of sitting in my lap while I read them books.
3) Pro-active Story Telling.
Instead of a passive story telling I would try my best to engage my children in the books by asking questions about the story or the picture on the book. easy questions like:
- what color the clouds are,
- what animal is this?
- do you think the cat is hungry?
- what should the squirrel do now? etc
because it will not only teach kids how to interact with the books but also broaden their focus, attention span and vocabulary.
4) Make it Relate-able.
Another trick I use while Reading is to try to relate my child with the story/book to make it more captivating for them, e.g. “the little rabbit got scared of the thunder like you got scared when it was raining and a thunder stroked yesterday, do you remember that? Then I hugged you and rabit’s mommy hugged the rabbit – and everyone felt better”. I personally think it helped them understand the depths of their emotions and the story as well.
5) Make reading fun.
Understand that sometimes the kid doesn’t want to read a book or even listen a story, take a break. Don’t force them to sit down and read. Reading should be something the kid associate fun with and not something that has been imposed on them such that they start taking it as a burden.
6) Reading Nooks.
Children, specially toddlers are obsessed with their own little space, a home, a nook, a corner. Use it as an advantage and make them a reading nook. Ours had been the right side of the sofa. We would sit there and read a story or two together.
7) Model Reading.
Read yourself, anything! books, magazines, stories, and they will just pick up the habit of reading from you Insha Allah. Show them you are excited about the books you read, you respect your books because ‘Books are Friends’ and they will do so too!
Result: oftentimes my kids want to read the first thing in the morning even before they have brushed their teeth and often refuse brushing too. I hope this is something to cherish about.