Encouraging a Natural Reader

Building a Natural Reader


My children LOVE a good book display. Shelves or baskets of books go largely unnoticed. When I purposefully put out books they are certain to snatch them up and read them or ask to be read to.

2. Stock Good Books

Below their reading level. It is important for books to be interesting and easy to read for the young reader. My son in particular started growing disinterested in books. I noticed that most of the books were above his level and not geared toward his interests. I pulled out some books I knew he could read and was pretty sure he would like and that was enough to kick start his reading again.

Above their reading level. For my eager reader making sure I have books that are a little above her level but still interesting slows her downs just enough so she is not mindlessly  breezing through books. I try to read aloud with her too that way I can hear what word she is struggling with and ask questions about words I think she may not be able to define.

3. Read Out Loud

Reading out loud models flow for your young reader. It sparks imagination and  really brings a text alive. My husband is excellent at reading aloud. He has been my own inspiration. I always struggled to read out loud and when babysitting I would dread reading to the kids. When I had my own children I remembered the special times my of reading win my Dad. I really did not want to miss out on passing that on so I worked on it. Fortunately, babies are really forgiving and love it when you are animated and silly. Eventually, I was able to move beyond board books and this year we have been reading C.S. Lewis! 🙂 It is really rewarding to see your child follow your lead and go from the stilted tempo of a new reader and blossom into expressive reading.

4. Don’t Push.

I firmly believe that you can not force anyone to love anything. Invite. Engage. Studied what interests your child and find ways to allow your child’s strengths and passions to open up a world of discovery.

5. Read What You Love.

Kids pick up on your excitement. Remember tip 3? My Dad and my husband both inspired me to work on an area I really dreaded (reading out loud). Let your excitement for a topic come through.

6. Engage Imagination

For busy 18 month olds simply pointing at pictures, saying a color, or naming an object is about all you have time for. 

Putting out cars and trucks, specific animals, or dolls to go along with a theme help engage imagination and draw a child in. I let the kids play with these things while we read. The only rule is to play quietly so everyone can hear the story.

Simple comments like:

“Wow, what would it like to be there?”

“Have your ever done that?!”

These prompts work really well for the early reader.

Deeper questions follow as the reader ages. I try to be sensitive. My kids do not like it if they feel they are being drilled on their comprehension. I don’t want end of story time to feel like a pop quiz.

I hope that helps!

I always welcome comments. I’d love to hear what you do to encourage reading.


A disclaimer: I have been really blessed with children that love to read. I share these tips recognizing that there are many reasons why a child may not naturally dive into books.  These are things we have done to encourage reading from teeny tot and on.

If you are looking for more on this topic I have found 1+1+1=1 to be have some great tips for encouraging young readers of all personalities, especially active and reluctant readers.





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