Teach Kids to Love to Read: 12 Simple Steps to Try at Home

Want to know how to teach kids to read? I’ve put together twelve steps that will help you out with just that! You’ve likely heard some of the ideas elsewhere, but I thought that listing these out might help you out with teaching your kids how to read.

12 Simple Steps to Teach Kids to Read

Here’s my twelve sure-fire steps to help increase a child’s love of reading.

Step #1: Find a book that interests your child.

One of the first things you can do to foster a love of reading in children is to help them find books that they love to read. Take them to the library, the bookstore or help them find books to read on your iPad or Kindle.

By helping them find books about things that interest them already, you’ve already won half the battle! In all seriousness, children are more likely to stick with a book if they are reading one that they enjoy.

If they aren’t interested in the first book they try, don’t push it. Try a different book and see if that sparks an interest. Find a book that sparks a child’s interest, and you’ll have a child who loves to read.

Step #2: Show your children your love of reading.

If you want your child to love reading, then they need to see you love reading too. This means reading to them and helping them find books that you enjoy reading as well. If you do, they will be more likely to follow in your footsteps.

Also, be sure to have books around the house. I know that sounds obvious, but it’s amazing how many kids have no idea you can read books for pleasure, let alone have a book library of your own.

Step #3: Read to your children at a young age

It’s never to early to start installing a love of reading in your child. You can start reading to them at a very young age. It will be a great time for the both of you, and you can start showing them how much you enjoy reading.

If you read to them at an early age, they will remember that and be more prone to trying to read themselves. Just be sure to keep reading to them as they get older. Some of the other tips I am about to give will be more helpful than just reading to them at a young age.

Step #4: Create a Reading Program for Summer

Local libraries will sometimes have a summer reading program for kids. Even if they don’t, it’s something you can do yourself at home. All you need to do is come up with a list of books they will need to read.

The more books they read, the bigger the “prize” can be at the end of summer. For example, if they read 10 books, then they could get a toy or game of their choice. Then, when they finish 30 books, they get a field trip to the zoo with a parent (or another prize of their choice).

Step #5: No screens until you finish a book

Phones and tablets are really great. I love them too! But they are also really distracting. They can pull kids away from reading and make that difficult experience more frequent. For example, instead of reading a book, they might be on their tablet chatting with friends or playing games.

One way to help with this is to make them “earn” the right to use their screen by reading first! That’s right, you can make them read for a certain period of time before they can do anything else. This makes it so they are more likely to actually read a book instead of fooling around with their tablet.

You could start at 10 minutes, and then increase it as you go along. The key is to have the kids read before they do anything else. This is a great way to get them reading, since reading will be their priority.

Step #6: Read in the park

Reading in the park is a great way to get kids outside and away from their screen. They can take a book with them and sit in a tree or on a bench. Reading in the park is also a great way to get kids thinking about nature and other things they might not usually think about.

Step #7: Learn to listen to your children

One of the main reasons your child might not like to read has nothing to do with reading and everything to do with something else. Listen to what they say, and try to help them when they struggle. They may need something else, like certain reading products or a different book.

Step #8: Find books made for early readers

There are books out there for children at all reading levels. If your child is starting to read, you can find books that are perfect for them and help them along the way. Early readers are usually full of pictures and are made in an easy-to-read style.

Step #9: Use songs and nursery rhymes to help with phonemic awareness

Phonemic awareness means the ability to recognize patterns in words and use them to sound out words when reading. To teach this, you can use nursery rhymes and songs. Start by singing songs and then move on to nursery rhymes.

Step #10: Create a reading diary for your child

A reading diary for kids can be an awesome way to encourage them to read. It’s a fun way for them to keep track of how much they have read, how many books they have read, and what they enjoyed about the books.

Step #11: Make Reading Fun with Prize Boxes

When you do something well in life, you get a prize. This is called positive reinforcement and it can really benefit both you and your child. You can use positive reinforcement to motivate your child to read more by giving prizes as they read more books.

Step #12: Play word games

There are plenty of ways to have fun with books and reading. Word games are a great way to do that. You can keep track of how many words they recognize, and then challenge them to come up with new words and see if they can use them in a sentence.


Hopefully, these steps will help you teach your kids to love reading! A love of reading is a gift that lasts a lifetime and will make your kids smarter and more successful. Show your kids that reading can be enjoyable, and they will be more likely to find reading fun. Be sure to check out the Hoosier Chapter Books Facebook group for more!

Photo of author

Kenny Kings

Kenny Kings is a chapter book author who is helping Paul Bellow fill the Hoosier Chapter Books blog with great content. You can find out more about Kenny Kings on the Kenny Kings bio page. Kenny Kings does not have children of his own, but he has more than enough nieces and nephews. With the help of the editorial team, he's been contributing to our blogging efforts to help families everywhere while promoting our chapter books. You can contact him at kennykings@hoosierchapterbooks.com.