{decorating with style} Fun Ways to Encourage Kids to Read

Thursday, November 9, 2017

My boys have toys, and toys, and more toys, but one of their favorite things has always been sitting down with a big pile of books. That makes me such a proud mom! I really hope that their early passion for books will turn into a life long love of reading, so I'm constantly looking for new ways to encourage them to continue reaching for books! 

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I know that for some kids, books don't hold the same appeal, and, for some, they may even be a source of frustration. After talking with friends and looking at what has been working well in our house, I've compiled some easy and fun tips to encourage young kids to love books, even before they can actually read the words on the pages! I am grateful to The Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) for sponsoring this post. Like me, CRI is dedicated to helping families creating beautiful and safe spaces for living and learning.


PUT BOOKS AT EYE LEVEL

Start by filling kids' lives with lots of books about the things they love, and keep the books right at eye level so that they will be encouraged to reach for them. In both of the boys' rooms, we used cubicle bookshelves turned sideways so that no shelf is out of reach {which also makes the space safer if your kid is a climber}. 

Keeping Books at Kids' Eye Level

By keeping the toys tucked inside bins and behind doors, but leaving the bright and beautiful books on display, the books are always the first things the boys reach for. Beckett loves animals, Cooper loves transportation, and both boys love super heroes, so those three themes dominate our bookshelves. 


GIVE KIDS SOFT SURFACES

Once they have the books, make sure they have cozy spaces to enjoy them! In the boys' new shared bedroom, I added a soft and squishy beanbag-style chair right by the bookshelves. But more often than not, I find the boys lying on the floor with their books. Fortunately, carpeting and rugs also provide soft, cozy surfaces for enjoying a good book.

Give kids soft surfaces for reading

I used to worry, however, that soft surfaces might not be the best choice for our family because, as you've probably heard me mention in the past, our older son has Reactive Airways Disease {similar to asthma}, in addition to some seasonal allergies. I used to think that hard floors were better for those with allergies, but I hated thinking of my kids not having soft and comfy surfaces for reading and playtime. So I was really relieved when I found out that research shows that carpet and rugs actually improve indoor air quality and support healthier living spaces for adults and kids alike, including those with asthma and allergies. 

Unlike on hard surfaces, where allergens such as ragweed and mold can rest on top of flooring and be easily kicked up every time someone walks through the room {or drives a toy car across the floor}, research {like this study} shows that carpet and rugs actually act as a filters to trap allergens until they can be vacuumed up, which results in fewer particles in the air. 

Of course, regular vacuuming and cleaning of carpets is a must, and avoiding wearing shoes in the house helps bring fewer allergens into the space. It's also a good idea to look for carpet certified by The Carpet and Rug Institute's Green Label Plus program, which indicates a low-VOC {volatile organic compound} product.

Is your kids' library or reading space in need of an upgrade? If so, you're in luck because The Carpet and Rug Institute is giving away a $500 Visa Gift Card to one lucky reader! Click over to visit CRI and enter the giveaway for a chance to win. Whether you need a soft new space for reading, some new books, or both... your kids will thank you!

GIVE KIDS FUN READING NOOKS

If your kids need a little extra encouragement to read, try making it more fun by giving them a special space, like a tent or reading nook. Kids just love having a cozy little space to call their own. 


When Beckett reached the age that he started refusing to nap, we made a compromise - rather than sleeping, he was allowed to spend quiet time reading in his tent. He was thrilled to spend an hour or so in his tent rather than lying in bed, and I was thrilled that he was spending even more time with his books.

Give kids tents and special nooks for reading books

The DIY tie-topped tent in Beckett's room holds lots of sentimental value {the ties were collected from all of the men in our family}, but there are lots of cute options out there if you prefer to buy a tent. How adorable is this pop-up camper tent in the room Polished Habitat helped create for her nephew? What kid wouldn't want to curl up in there with a good book? 

Photo by Polished Habitat

Of course, a tent is just one option for giving kids a creative reading spot to call their own. Even the smallest corner of the house can be turned in a reading nook.

Turn under the stairs storage into a playroom or reading nook

When we converted our under stair storage area into rock and roll themed playroom for our boys, I wanted to take advantage of the full space, including the very back corner where the ceiling meets the floor. By filling this space with pillows and hanging a few magazine racks on the wall for uber-compact book storage, we created the coziest of reading spots. The same principles can be applied to convert a closet, the corner behind the couch, or the space under a lofted bed into a special book nook.  

ACT IT OUT: DRESS UP AS FAVORITE CHARACTERS

Not every kid has the desire or ability to sit still for long. Don't skip story-time just because the kids are wiggly, instead get them in on the action. I recently started reading chapter books to the boys, and while they love listening, the lack of pictures to look at sometimes makes little brother, Cooper, a bit restless. Rather than getting frustrating and closing the book, I've encouraged the boys to move around and act out the story. Not only do they think turning their pajamas into super hero capes is good fun, it also gives them a chance to really engage in the story and understand it better.


INCORPORATE BOOKS INTO HOLIDAYS & CELEBRATIONS

We also like to incorporate books into all of our holidays by not only giving books as gifts, but also making the books part of the celebration. We've accumulated a small collection of books for each holiday, but rather than leaving them on the bookshelf year-round, I instead store them away with our seasonal decorations so that when we unpack them each year they feel new and exciting to the kids again.

Incorporate books into holiday celebration

In December, I wrap up twenty-four Christmas books{the same ones every year} and add number tags corresponding with the days left until Christmas. Each night the kids cross another day off of their countdown calendar, and then rush to find package with that number. By turning the books into gifts and building on the anticipation of the upcoming holiday, the books become even more exciting to the boys than they would otherwise. There is nothing better than watching a kid who can't wait to tear off the wrapping paper to read another book!

Incorporate books into holiday celebrations

What are some of your favorite ways to encourage your kids to read and love books? I know I'm going to need some more tricks up my sleeve as the boys get older, so I'm all ears!

How to Encourage Kids to Read

This post is sponsored by The Carpet and Rug Institute, but all content and opinions are my own. Don't forget to enter CRI's $500 Visa gift card giveaway.



4 comments :

  1. Where did find the clean box? I really like it as an end table.

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  2. Omg, you sound like the best mom ever!! Love all of your ideas, and I just wish when I have kids, I can get them just as interested in books as your kids are!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Isadora! We have so much fun with the kids and just love reading together!

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  3. I really love that you incorporated cozy spots for them to read all around the house! I'm always landing in a different spot with my Kindle, so it makes sense that kids would also enjoy reading in different nooks too.

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