Reading Series Part III: Reading BY Children

by Kelsey Norwood

in Education, Media, & Literacy

Reading Series Part I: Reading TO Children
Reading Series Part II: Reading WITH Children

Reading BY Children

This stage of reading development comes after your child is a successful and frequent reader. Set a time once a day or week that you sit down as a family and have a family reading time or let it happen “naturally.” Cultivate an environment of learning and literacy by reading often to, with, and by your children.

Other important thoughts:

Having lots of books around is essential to creating a voracious reader in your child, even if they don’t read them all.

I like to get a whole stack of books while I’m at the library so that I can have lots of choices when I am ready to start a new one. Often I don’t read every book I check out, but when I have more than I could possibly read I am able to choose one that fits my mood and my current reading interests. For me, enjoying a book is very dependent on the timing. Somewhere inside myself I know what I want to read and if I try to read something else, I can’t get through it. Many times I have started a book and put it down because it just wasn’t right at the time. Later I’ve picked up the same book and loved it. Kids are the same way! They need choices and lots of variety in order to find something that really catches their interest and matches their mood.

Also, get the covers showing! We all judge books by their covers, no matter how many times we’ve been told you can’t do that. A cover is an important part of the reading experience, so arrange the books in your house so that the covers are visible. Kids don’t read books because of the spine, they read them because of the cover.

Libraries are excellent resources, but owning books is important too. There is something about owning a book that motivates a child to read. Instead of buying toys, buy books for your children! You don’t have to buy them new either; new books are expensive. Check local library book sales, second hand stores, garage sales, and websites like or It is nice to have a brand new book occasionally because titles at second hand stores and garage sales are limited. Buy new books for special occasions and try to get them on sale. The important thing is to have your own book collection.

Talk up books, give a a preview. The best book advertising is word of mouth! People do things based on recommendations from friends, so talk with your children and friends about books. Ask people about their favorite books. Share your favorites and be open to trying new books that are recommended to you. I am a member of, a place online where people can go to keep track of and share books with friends. I have a blast seeing what my friends are reading and what they liked and didn’t like. I have found some real treasures by keeping in touch with what my friends are reading.

Finally, if your kids don’t want to read, send them to bed a half hour early. Give them two choices: Sleep or read. By giving them time, most kids will choose to read and eventually learn to love it.

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