Professional Development

June 11, 2016

How to Help Cultivate a Love of Reading

Loving to read is not something that comes naturally to all children. Sometimes they love to get lost in a book, make connections, predict what will happen next and other times children just want to look at the pictures and be done.

I can even see that in both of my own children.  My son loves to sit and read books and my daughter enjoys them, but finishes quickly and wants to move on. My son naturally has a love of reading and I have had to cultivate a love of reading in my daughter.

From a very young age, parents can help cultivate a love of reading in their children. But what do we do when they come to us in school and they don’t love to read? When they don’t know what a book is? When they have never been read to at home? How do we cultivate a love of reading?

Surround them with literature that excites them.

When you are reading to them, always with the purpose of modeling what great reading looks likes, sounds like, and how great readers think, but sure to choose literature that excites them. You want them to be glued! You want them to look forward to hearing you read the book!

You can see my favorites HERE on my Amazon lists.

Be a joyful example.

As a kindergarten and first grade teacher, I understand that at times I can be over the top, but it always wins the little ones over. Always.

Be joyful about the reading experience!

  • Read with excitement.
  • Introduce the book with excitement.
  • Call them to the carpet for read aloud time with excitement.
  • Talk to them about books you are reading at home with excitement.
  • Mention it often, “Last night I was ready before bed when….”

Provide ample opportunities.

For the most part, we all have our kids reading each day–maybe it’s in work stations, guided reading, shared reading, whatever it may be.  We also are reading to them many times a day.

But how often do you allow them to read because they want to read? How much “unstructured” time do they get to read? At the library, make time for them to read their new books. If they finish their work early, allow them to read their books in their book tubs. Provide many opportunities for them to read.

Give them positive experiences.

It’s so easy to want to correct their reading at all times, but don’t. Don’t make them feel like they can’t do it and like they are always messing up.  Allow them to feel like they can do it and do it right! Sure, there is definitely a time and place for students to be “guided in their reading” (guided reading), but when they are reading leisurely, let them read. Let them have a positive experience.

Allow them to choose books.

Many times I think I know what my little readers like, but I guess wrong at the beginning of the year.  Allow them to choose books they love, even if they are too hard for them. They are excited about the book and can always “read the pictures” to read the book. The goal here is that they have a book in their hands that they are excited about when they can choose their own books!

Helping at Home

Sometimes parents want to help cultivate a love of reading in their own child, but they don’t know how. Many times I have experienced parents who don’t love to read, but they know how important it is so they do want their child to love to read.  

I created a printable page that you can share with parents as they journey alongside you to help cultivate a love of reading!

Here are some tips that you can share with parents to help them get started on the right track!

This parent hand out is perfect to give to parents at the beginning of the year. After all, you and the parent are a team for each child! Grab this FREE for your parents!

Click the image above to join my email list and get this FREE for your parents!

What do you do in your classroom to help cultivate a love of reading? I’d love to know!

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Happy Teaching,



Want to use the latest research to boost your readers during small groups? This FREE guide is packed with engaging ideas to help them grow!

Hi, I'm Amanda

I’m a K-1 teacher who is passionate about making lessons your students love and that are easy to implement for teachers.  Helping teachers like you navigate their way through their literacy block brings me great joy. I am a lifelong learner who loves staying on top of current literacy learning and practices. Here, you’ll find the tools you need to move your K-2 students forward!


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15 Responses

  1. Hi Amanda!
    One way we cultivate the love of reading is through a school-wide initiative “The Early Birds”. We have invited every student to join this program on a daily basis from 7:45-8:05am. In this program, the students from the upper grades read to our students from the lower grades. They absolutely love it!

    1. I LOVE this idea!! That is fantastic and it’s a perfect opportunity for the older students to be mentors while they build confidence in their own reading! Oh, this is fabulous!

  2. Hello my name is Teresa Fleak and I teach Kindergarten in an inner city school in Nashville, TN. I just stumbled onto your reading at home handout. I really liked this handout. I know you put a lot of time and effort into this and I hate to ask this question but the majority of my students do not speak English they speak Spanish and Arabic and I can not send the translation office anything in a pdf format. Would you be willing to send this document to me as a working document so that they could translate it for me? I understand if your answer is no.

    Thank you in advance either way.

    Teresa Fleak

    1. I am in the same situation. Lots of Arabic and Spanish learners. I would love a different format too. Or did anyone get translated and you can share? It will be fall before I can submit for translating and would love to be able to hand out at our meet the teacher. I’m a librarian at my school and working on a school wide project for reading at home and parent check out book. Thanks. Love your info.

      1. Hi Tara! At this time I am unable to offer this in file in another format. It sounds like your project will be fabulous! Good luck!! 🙂

  3. My name is Martha Polk from Byhalia, MS. My family are moving to Arkansas and were looking in your area. My child just went in the 1st grade and she reads 5th level. Do you not have the AR reader program. This program has made her reading level go up. Was just wondering if we move there will her level go down?

    1. Hi Martha! I am only familiar with the AR reading program because I used it in elementary. I live in Texas and have never taught in a school that has had the program. I’m sorry I can’t be more help!

  4. Hello Amanda. I find your parent handout is really useful. Thanks for sharing it here. May I have permission to share it with the parents of my class students?

  5. Pingback: How to get your kids to read all summer long - Peanut Butter Grits

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