How to Develop a Love of Literature in Your Home

How to Develop a Love of Literature in Your Home

Spending time reading literature is an important part of our homeschool and family life. As a parent and home educator, it is important to me to give my children a love for reading and literature from the time they are very young. As they grow, I want my children to excited by the idea of exploring the world through books. 

Fostering a love for reading can have so many beginnings, but I have learned that it requires being intentional. In this blog post, I am sharing the things I have done over the years as a homeschool mom of four that have nurtured a love for reading and books.

In this blog post:

  • Prioritize reading in the early years
  • Designate time for reading aloud daily
  • Seek out quality literature
  • Create spaces at home for reading 
  • Listen to audiobooks
  • Limit screens
  • Visit the library
  • Offer books that follow children’s interests
  • Model reading literature and books
  • Host or participate in a book club
  • Give books as gifts
  • Use books as reference
  • Give permission to pause or not finish a book
  • Work with children's reading abilities

Prioritize reading in the early years

encourage reading young children

Part of the daily rhythm of our family life and homeschool day is spending time reading together. This is a consistent routine we have practiced since my children were small.

For preschool-aged or small children, I like to grab a huge pile of books, a cup of coffee for me, and milk or a snack for the children and read aloud for a block of time each day, maybe 30 minutes to an hour. In the past year in my homeschool, we called this “Milk and Coffee Hour.” While my older two children spent time doing their independent school work, I would read books with my younger children.

We also like to read stories together at night before bedtime.

At this age, you may consider incorporating narration through play, sometimes defined as "the art of telling back." For small children, you can practice narration by offering toys or props children can use to re-tell or re-enact the story and see what they remember as you read.

Related: Narration in the Early Stages and How to Teach a Child to Read

Designate time for reading aloud daily

bible curriculum for families kids

As a family, part of the reading we do together is reading the Bible. Currently, my husband does this with my children over breakfast. Using a devotional like Rooted Family Bible Curriculum, we read through a section of Scripture each morning together. My husband or one of my older children will read the section aloud, and we will discuss it after with questions from the Bible study or by praying about it. I love that my children can see how we learn from the Bible as we read together.

Related: Introducing Rooted Family Bible Curriculum and Identity in Christ Children's Bible Lesson [FREE Download]

Another thing we do most days is work through our read-aloud over lunch. My children will take their lunches outside and eat quietly as I read to them from a chapter book that we can all enjoy. Most recently we read Swallows and Amazons and earlier this year we all loved reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Even though my little children may not follow the story completely, they can enjoy parts and will learn alongside their older siblings. 

Related: 40+ Ideas to Engage Children During Read Alouds and My Favorite Read Alouds

Seek out quality literature

best literature for kids

As you dedicate time to reading with children of any age, choosing high-quality literature makes a huge difference. The Charlotte Mason philosophy emphasizes the term "living books," which chooses books and stories that will linger in children's minds even after they are finished reading. Living books are often stories written by someone who has firsthand experience with a subject. They also will inspire the imagination and move the reader to experience different emotions as they read.

There are so many resources for book lists for different ages, subjects, seasons, and more.

Related: Treehouse Schoolhouse Book Lists and Best Sources for Preschool & Elementary Living Book Lists 

Create spaces at home for reading

When I imagine my children reading, I think about them reading in quiet, cozy spaces in our home. I want to allow them spaces to step away from their daily lives and dive fully into a book without distractions. Just like we create places in our homes for feasting and creative play, we can also create spaces that allow for diving into good books together and having quiet, cozy spaces to read independently. 

One thing I’ve enjoyed over the years is rotating selections of picture books and strategically placing them in baskets around the house in spaces that we naturally snuggle up together. This makes it natural to grab a book to read to them or for my older children to read on their own.

Rotating books keeps things fresh and exciting. These may be books that reflect the season in nature or coordinate with some aspect of our curriculum. When we do a unit study like An Expectant Easter or A Connected Christmas, I will pull from those book lists and set out the books related to our study. I like to have these set up in different spaces in our home so that my children can freely choose books and look through them independently.

I love having cozy nooks and quiet areas around our home for my children to curl up with a book and read without distractions. This may be a chair and a cozy blanket, reading on our porch on a spring day, or taking a book out to the woods and stretching out on a hammock. I love that my children can grab a book and set up a space to read and have their own quiet, independent time in a book.

Listen to audiobooks

Audiobooks have made a big difference for our family. Sometimes we use audiobooks for our lunchtime read-aloud time if I need a break from reading aloud or if the narrator is especially engaging. I also like to turn an audiobook on while the children are playing quietly or if we are on a road trip. I love to use Audible or Hoopla to listen to audiobooks and stream them on our bluetooth speaker

Related: 20 Favorite Podcasts for Children 

Limit screens

We use screens in our homes for aspects of our learning and occasionally watch shows or movies together as a family. However, I believe limiting screens helps children opt for books and reading more easily. When my children are looking for something to do either for entertainment or otherwise, removing the option of screens or tablets helps train the habit of attention and reading ability, and helps children find enjoyment in the pages of a book instead of a screen.

Related: Screen-Free Road Trip Ideas for Toddlers and Children

Visit the library

I don’t know what we would do without our local library. We get so many books and resources for our homeschool there. I love visiting our library and letting my children browse the shelves and pick out books. I also love reserving books ahead of time and going to the library to pick everything up. 

You may also consider joining an additional library in a nearby city, county, or neighboring state to expand your options for available books.

Another fun option is to explore and donate to the Little Free Libraries in your area.

Offer books that follow children’s interests

One way to inspire a love for reading is to tailor children’s reading material to their interests. Let them dive into a subject, story, or book written by an author they love. If your child is interested in a subject like history or a genre like adventure, let them meander in that topic for a while so they can see how much there is to explore by reading. Talk to them about what they are learning and love the most. Look up recommendations for similar series, topics, or authors so your children can continue learning if they complete the series they are working through.

Model reading literature and books 

Children learn so much from watching us. In my home, I feel it is important that my children see me spending time reading books in my spare time. At this stage in my life, now that my children are a bit older, I love to wake up before my children to have quiet time for myself and spend time reading the Bible, praying, and reading books. As my children wake, they may come to find me and see me reading alone at this time. I like for them to see me spending time reading and turning to books for wisdom, inspiration, enjoyment, and growth. I hope that when they are older they will remember this habit and do the same. 

Related: My Homeschool Mom Morning Routine and My Favorite Blogs, Podcasts, and Books for the Homeschool Mama 

Host or participate in a book club

best bookclub for homeschool

Over the years we have participated in and hosted book clubs in various forms and fashions. In most cases, we would choose a book to read with several friends or members of our homeschool community and then meet together after we had all read the book. When I did this with younger children, we would gather together to do a craft or have a snack that went along with the story. With older children, we have expanded this to creating and sharing presentations and games that are inspired by the book selection.

Being a part of book clubs and creating a community that loves and fosters reading has been such a rich, memorable part of my children’s education. 

book club meet up ideas kids

If you are interested in being part of a children’s book club and don’t know where to start, we are now offering Treehouse Book Club. Treehouse Book Club features a new book selection every month and a guide to the book with a reading schedule, discussion questions, Book Report Booklet, and Book Club Meet-up Guide. Treehouse Book Club can be used as a book club format, a language arts curriculum or extension, and uses different books as lenses to explore topics in history, science, literature, and more.

Related: How to Start a Children’s Book Club and Introducing Treehouse Book Club 

homeschool elementary book club

View our upcoming Treehouse Book Club picks and join today.

Give books as gifts

One fun way to share the love of reading is to give books as gifts. Giving books as gifts for holidays or special occasions is an easy way to give a fun and meaningful gift. 

I also love to let my children pick out books to give to their friends for birthday gifts. I love to encourage my children to think about books they have loved and would like to share with others or think about the interests of their friends and what books they might enjoy reading.

Use books as reference

Information is so easy to find on the Internet, but we can also teach our children to use books as a way to research and learn. We can use reference books, cookbooks, dictionaries, encyclopedias, and more to explore and learn about the world around us. We can use field guides to learn about elements in nature and name the things we see around us. While it may take more time or effort to find information in a book or gather books to use for reference, books can be an excellent choice to explore various subjects and topics.

Give permission to pause or not finish a book

I love to inspire reading through gentle invitations, but sometimes that means switching it up if a book selection isn’t working for me or my children. While I do encourage my children to keep making progress through a new story or challenging book, I also try to make adjustments as needed. If they are not loving a book we may read a section together and talk about it, or we may just choose a new one altogether. Sometimes they will revisit a book they tried to read before, or not.

Work with children’s reading abilities

alphabet learning tools children
Whether your children are just learning to read or have been reading for years, it is important to help strengthen their reading abilities as they go. For young children, I try to immerse them in an environment that engages and draws interest in reading before beginning formal reading lessons. When they show interest, I invite them to learn to read with hands-on resources like the Wonder of Nature Collection or other tools.
After children have learned to read, I pay attention to what they say about the books they are reading, or what details they are sharing if I ask them to narrate the story back to me. If they are reading too fast or skipping over words, we may slow down and troubleshoot and make sure they are fully comprehending the subject.

 

Do you love reading in your home? Let me know what you do to inspire reading in the comments below.

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