Tried & True Tips To Raise Reading Loving Kids With Talk Read Sing

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I remember the first gift I opened at my baby shower was a book about how to get your children to sleep at night and a book on why children need to love to read. The first book did us no good. Our oldest still doesn’t sleep as much as I wish she would… and she is 15 years old now. But the other book on reading really got out attention. The only problem was that it didn’t tell us how to raise kids that would love to read, only that it was important for them to love it.


Then our daughter was born over 6 weeks early and everything we thought we would do went out the window. We felt like we were in survival mode. It took us a couple months to settle into parenthood and get our new normal up and going. Reading to our daughter became part of our new routine. We noticed that she immediately calmed down when we did and before we knew it she was trying to say the words with us. 

She said her first word at four months old. We were in the elevator at the hospital when a doctor walked in and she said hi to him. He jumped back and asked if she really just said hi. Then she looked him right in the eyes and said it again! Fast forward a few years and she shocked everyone when she was reading chapter books before her 5th birthday. Reading has always been her favorite thing to do and she has learned so much from the stories she has read.


First 5 California knows how important the early years of childhood are to a child’s development and they want you to remember to “Talk. Read. Sing.®” every day with your child. I couldn’t agree more. 

Here are my Tried & True Tips To Raise Reading Loving Kids!

1. Make reading part of your every day routine. Pete was really good about reading Maddie a book every night before bed. It was something that they both looked forward to. 

2. Let them pick the book. Introduce new books often… but ultimately let the child decide what they want to hear. We still have her favorite book that she would insist he read to her 10 times before she would even think about going to sleep.

3. Find topics and stories that interest your child. Some kids really love fairy-tale adventures, where others really love more more reality based nature stories. We’ve learned it doesn’t matter what you read them… just as long as you are reading together.

4. As soon as they can talk let them help read the story. It’s amazing how much they can memorize or what creative ideas they can come up with. Let them read the book to you (even if there isn’t much real reading involved). 

5. Act out the book. If the book is about cooking, take it into the kitchen and act it out together as you read it.

6. Take a book with you wherever you go. Teach them that a book is the best “go-to” toy around.

7. Collect books on your vacations. When we visit a new place we always buy a magnet to remember our time there, and we also buy the girls books. Maddie loves books about the history of an area and Ashley normally wants one about the more modern times. Either way there is something for everyone. Even Emmy gets in on it and either gets a coloring book or a chapter book. 

8. Don’t push one sort of book on a child. As they get older they might not like the same books as everyone else. Let them explore the different types. There are magazines, comics and reference books. Find what interests them the most.

9. Let books lead your discussions. We always talk about the stories we are reading as we read them. We’ve had some amazing conversations about adventures people are taking in books and where we want to go and what we want to see.

First 5 California is on a statewide mission to inform, educate and inspire parents and caregivers to talk, read and sing to their little ones starting from the day they are born.

Science tells us that 90% of the brain is formed by the age of 5, and recent research also reveals that more than 80% of a child’s brain is formed by age 3. As you know from being a parent, these early years are the most formative and life-impacting. You want your child to have a larger vocabulary not only do better in school, but are significantly less likely to make poor choices in the future.

The experts at First 5 California refer to the brain as a muscle that needs exercise – and that means “working out” through talking, reading and singing regularly. Talking can be as simple as narrating the day; reading doesn’t always need to be via books; recipes, newspapers and road signs are great (aim for 30 min/day total – can be broken up into 5-10 min increments throughout the day) and singing doesn’t require carrying a tune (First 5 California has a great children’s radio station on Pandora that can help!).

We want to tell mothers, fathers, grandparents and caregivers across the state how much power they have over their children’s futures, and it all starts with three little words that have lifelong impact.

The First 5 California website as a great resource for activities for newborns, babies, toddlers and preschoolers. There’s a whole section (Activity Center) on things that parents can do with their kids to help stimulate the mind.

Do you and your kids love to read?

Heather Reese
the authorHeather Reese
Heather Delaney Reese is the storyteller and photographer behind the lifestyle and family travel blog, It's a Lovely Life®! For the past decade, she has vacationed over 150 days a year with her family. She is a vegan, and loves being by the water, spending time with her children, husband, 2 Shih Tzus and Cat.


  • I am happy that my boys both love to read. Especially since I can’t stand it.

  • I really want my son to love to read (I always had problems with reading and I don’t want him to struggle). These are all great tips and we do a lot of them already!

  • So sweet, your list brought me back to memories of my parents and how patient they were when I was learning to read. It meant a lot to me when I would have to be called on in class to read like “popcorn reading” and being a confident kid who could read out loud in front of classmates.

  • That’s so adorable. She’s an intelligent little girl and it’s awesome that she loves reading. Thanks for the tips!

  • We are a big reading family! We all love to read luckily but one of my kiddos is a little behind so any way to make it a bit more fun!

  • Reading is a part of my household. Thanks for sharing your tips. If everyone followed these tips more kids would enjoy books, I believe.

  • We are at the opposite end of the child rearing timeline with a high school junior preparing to take ACT and SAT’s. We have seen the benefits of her love of reading from a young age in her ability to quickly read through required test information and have excellent comprehension. When tots are little one doesn’t really realize the life long impact of being a good reader and the downside of not being one.

  • Reading is such an important part of a childs development. My eldest had a library card at 16 days old and even now she’s two she loves a trip to the libary. I love it when she asks to read with me on the sofa sometimes.

  • We all love reading in our house. If we don’t read out loud as a family, we are all reading our own individual books. I love a good book and a great book store!

  • We are lucky that both of our girls LOVE to read. They bring books everywhere with them. In the car, on the bus… it is their favorite thing to do.

  • You guys are such lucky parents! We’re also trying to get our daughter to love reading and from what I see, we’re on the right track. She’s 4 and hopefully she’ll start reading soon, same as your little one. It would also be a big confirmation we’re doing well at this parenting job!

  • When kiddo was really little we would read to her. As she aged a bit we would have her start reading to us so she could learn words. Now that shes almost 11, she has to read daily for school so she reads quite a bit to herself now.

  • We;re avid readers in this house, all of us! Even the three year old has already started picking some reading up. lol.

  • Fostering a love of reading in your kids is so important! I have always been a huge bookworm and it has done me a lot of good throughout my life. I definitely agree that you should make reading a part of your everyday routine. It’s also a great way to bond with your child when they’re too young to read by themselves. Story time can be a time you both look forward to.

  • This is so great!! I love when kids love to read!! I have a niece that shares my love of reading and I am always getting her books I think she will love.

  • Getting a reading routine is definitely important as is letting them pick the book. If they are happy with the book then they will actually want to sit through it. Great tips!

  • We are big on promoting reading around here! Reading and supporting local libraries go hand and hand with us – thanks for sharing!

  • I love this! We have always read to our daughters- and I love that when my 1 year old isn’t into sitting anymore, my 3 year old tells the story to her with actions and voices. It’s amazing to see their love of books and storytelling grow!

  • My family and I love reading! In fact, we frequently spend our time in the library. It’s certainly never too early to foster a love for reading!

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