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Children's & Youth Services | How To Encourage Reading

How To Encourage Reading

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  1. Create a reading area that is free of distractions, like toys, puzzles and games.
  2. Provide comfortable sitting spaces and good lighting in the reading area.
  3. Have a variety of fun stories and reading materials available for the child to choose from. (i.e. Books, magazines, comics, books on tape, etc).
  4. Display those books at a child's height level.
  5. Encourage the child to select his/her own book and then read that book to them. Read it over and over again if the child requests it. Part of the fun for young children in reading is hearing the same story over and over.
  6. Model the reading behavior yourself. Your child needs to see the adults around him/her reading. They learn by example.
  7. Take regular trips to your local library or bookstore to find new reading materials. Again encourage the child to choose his/her own book, even if it is one you have at home.
  8. Read anytime you can. Always have books along with you when you go on a trip, even if it is just to the grocery store. The grocery store check-out line is a great place to share a quick story with your child!
  9. Read anything you can. Point out words on road signs or read a cereal box. Show that reading is an important activity that impacts all aspects of daily life.
  10. Don't make reading a chore. Read when both you and your child are relaxed, comfortable and ready for some fun.


“The Family That Reads Together” by Jenny Friedman MPLS-St. Paul Magazine, May 1999 v27 i5 p104.

“Have Book Bag, Will Travel: A Practical Guide To Reading Aloud.” by Mary M. Burns & Ann A. Flowers The Horn Book Magazine, March-April 1997 v73 n2 p.182.

“Readerly Advice” by Michael Dirda The Writer Jan 1998 v111 n1 p.7.

Tip sheet created in July 2001 by the South Dakota State Library

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