Reading and Writing: Develop Your Child’s Love Of Language

Develop Your Child's Love of Reading and WritingI have two small children, who are just learning the building blocks of reading and writing. They have a keen interest in what mommy is doing, typing away at the keyboard all day, putting letters together to make words, and to tell stories. Reading and writing are critical skills; I want to do everything I can to make sure they love what reading and writing can do for them.

“We shouldn’t teach great books; we should teach a love of reading.” — B. F. Skinner

Here are my favorite ways you can encourage your children to play with words. Please add your ideas in the comments below. What has worked for your children, and what hasn’t?

Reading Time

Of course, before kids can learn to write well, they need the fundamentals of the alphabet, and reading. I try to read every day with them. Right before bed is the traditional reading time, but don’t be surprised if they come running to you with their favorite story in the middle of the afternoon. Anytime is a good time to share a story with your kids.

Be sure to take them to the library as often as possible, to expose them to the wide variety of books available. Many libraries have summer reading programs that encourage children to read (or be read to), with many rewards along the way. You could also join (or create) a parent-child book club to encourage the sharing of books and stories. Keeping track of the stories your child has read will let you know when it’s time to expand your personal reading library.

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” — Dr. Seuss

Literacy Videos, Flashcards, and Games

Today there are a variety of materials geared to young children to encourage their reading and writing capabilities. Videos and television shows are often designed for preschool age children, exposing them to a wide variety of words and phonics sounds. Flashcards encourage letter and word recognition, which is suitable for the beginning reader.

Websites with children’s games are a unique way to encourage reading, without making it feel like study time. With both written and spoken instructions, kids will learn how to play the games and how to read at the same time. Always supervise your kids when they are on the computer, and don’t let computer time cut into book reading time.

Material games, such as word jumbles, rhyming sounds, and even board games also enhance your child’s reading skills, showing them how letters form words, and what sounds are created with different letters. You could even play an oral version of round robin, where you start a story and let your children come up with the next scene. Your children will learn the basics of plot and character creation, even when it sounds very similar to the stories you already read to your children.

“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends: they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.” — Charles W. Eliot

Give Your Children Their Own Writing Tools

Budding writers will need their own writing materials, so they can work alongside their writer-parents. Even if they haven’t mastered writing their letters yet, the practice will encourage them to keep trying. My kids have their own notebooks, where they can draw, scribble, and write to their hearts’ content. They also have small kids’ laptops, where they can type away while I’m typing.

Besides your growing library of children’s books, consider getting them their own subscription to a children’s magazine. Kids love receiving things in the mail that are just for them, and they will learn the value of the written word, as it becomes a special monthly treasure. They will also associate the words with the pictures, and may even make their own story books! Give them construction paper and crayons, and let them create their own magazine, scrapbook, or cards with a little help from you.

“Happy is he who has laid up in his youth, and held fast in all fortune, a genuine and passionate love of reading.” — Rufus Choate

What other ideas do you use to promote literacy with your children? Do they share your love of reading and writing?

Photo Credit: Genista

8 thoughts on “Reading and Writing: Develop Your Child’s Love Of Language

  1. This post is music to a travel writer’s ears! Some travel writers take their family on the road with them, i.e., Rick Steves. Traveling around the world can expand your child’s horizons in many ways. Not only will they learn about different cultures, they can learn to speak different languages which could help them with their native tongue. They can read about the places you travel to and learn history and geography at the same time.
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  2. What a fantabulous post, Kim! 😀

    I loved reading as a kid. My parents always took me to the library, purchased (both new and used) books for me to keep, and also encouraged my love for reading by signing me up for book clubs, etc. I was always SO excited when new books arrived in the mail.

    Both my parents read to me as well. I was a very blessed child!

    Great tips!
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  3. Because of the his dyslexia and speech and language delay we’ve had to be more creative than most when it comes to teaching my son to read and write. Unlike my daughter, who loves to read, every word is a struggle for him and keeping him motivated can be challenging.

    I’ve found turning reading into a game has the biggest influence. He never really found interest in electronic language and phonic games on the computer (would much rather play role playing and adventure games) but games like memory, snap, and go fish keep him interested. We play these with flash cards.

    When we were teaching him to count we also played cards. Blackjack gets kids counting to 21. :-) Now we spend a lot of time with repetition, sound patterns, and rhyming.

    Parents should be aware of a child who is resistant to reading. Most kids LOVE it. If the opportunity to listen to stories and later to learn to read themselves is available a child develops the interest. If they don’t, it may be an early indication of a deeper problem with language. Don’t wait, start being proactive with reading and writing right now!

    My son is 6yo now and has spend two and a half very difficult years in school. When he was 3 I expressed concerns because he wasn’t talking but was assured that he’d do just fine. He’s NOT doing just fine, and had we begun to work on the situation THEN he would be much further along that he is now.

    Thankfully, although he finds it difficult to read and write himself, he LOVES stories, being read to, and has a fantastic imagination. Embrace these little minds. There is magic in them.
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  4. Layton Altops says:

    Language delays also encompass children from different cultural environments who may be slow to acquire use of English.

  5. Traveling is a great way to encourage reading comprehension! Besides all the billboards along the way, I remember playing the license plate game, identifying letters on the plates in alphabetical order. I also learned how to read a map!

    Book clubs! I loved those so much. I had the Sesame Street books when I was a kid, and treasured them so much.

    I don’t know much about children with language development issues, but I do know they require extra love and care. Showing them the magic of reading and making sure they love what the written word can do will only foster that growth, even if it is at a different pace. I hope you and your son continue to do well. (((Rebecca)))

    I’m sure that continued reading and practice will help all children to read, no matter what their native language. My children watch shows that include other languages besides English, and that helps them embrace other cultures, and explore the variety of words available to them.


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