A family of four are seated on a couch. The mother holds a book they are all looking at. The two children are yourng girls. Both hold stuffed animals.

Cultivating Curious Minds: Seven Ways to Model Good Reading Habits for Children

February 7, 2024

In an age of digital distractions and instant gratification, nurturing a love for reading in children can feel like an uphill battle. But the benefits of fostering a reading habit are immeasurable, enriching their lives with knowledge, imagination, and a lifelong love of learning. One of the most potent tools in your arsenal is completely free: the power of modeling.

Simply put, modeling means demonstrating the value and joy we find in reading through our actions. It’s not about lectures or forced bedtime stories; it’s about making reading an integral part of our daily lives, a natural event woven into the fabric of family routine. And the impact on our children’s literacy development is profound.

Why Modeling Matters

Children are observant. They absorb the behaviors and attitudes they witness around them. When they see the important people in their lives prioritize reading for enjoyment, it sends a powerful message: “Reading is valuable, engaging, and something worth devoting time to.” This modeling becomes the cornerstone for their own reading journey, shaping their perception of books as gateways to adventure, knowledge, and self-discovery. Modeling reading accomplishes four things:

Putting Modeling Into Practice

Bonus Tips:

Remember, modeling isn’t about perfection; it’s about genuineness. Be patient, focus on creating a positive and enjoyable reading environment, and celebrate your child’s unique reading journey. You’re not just instilling a love of books by making reading a visible, valued, and engaging part of your family’s life. You’re equipping them with essential skills for lifelong learning and success. In their hands, a book becomes a passport to adventure, a companion in times of solitude, a way to process feelings and emotions, and windows into other perspectives and cultures.

Our literacy tips are presented by Reader’s Digest Foundation.