I will prephase this by saying that I am not a parent, this is purely based on the things that I know from my own childhood and from other book lovers around the internet.

Let them see you read

This, I think, is the biggest one. Kids imitate what they see. I have a grown up with two parents who read regularly. Most holidays were spent with one or both of them buried in a book. They read before going to bed each night. They read on planes etc. Reading was just another normal hobby, like TV after (or during!) dinner.

Introduce reading into their routine

I think most kids get the whole, story book read aloud to them when they are little thing but if you keep it going after they are big enough to read themselves, it becomes a part of everyday life. Bath, book, bed. To this day I find it difficult to drop off without reading a book because it is an ingrained part of my routine.

Choose something you can both read

Maybe this is very particular to the phenomenon of Harry Potter in the 90’s/ 2000’s but my whole family would take turns reading the latest book in the series when it came. Mum was the fastest, so she was first, dad second, brother 3rd and me, the youngest, last; although the pecking order did change as we got older and I became a much faster reader. I wanted to read it because everyone else was reading and especially to compete with my brother (who never reciprocated the competition fyi… this was a race I was in alone!).

Actually have books in the house/ in their rooms

Firstly, any adult with any love for reading should have some bookshelves, space allowing. Secondly, that adult should make sure their kiddo has some too, even if it’s just for the books relatives buy because they’re ‘educational’.

Thirdly, this makes books part of everyday life. Quite literally, part of the furniture. There are piles of books everywhere in my house and even more in the loft, I definitely learned my book magpie tendencies from my parents, except my shelves are prettier! But the point is, I have grown up with book shelves in my room and I think a room would feel very bare without it.

Make sure their reading isn’t just school centric

If I had only been able to read the books designated for my ‘reading ability’ at school, I never would have bloody well progressed and I would have found reading very boring. I have no idea if school’s still do this but our library in primary school was colour coded and the colours were your ability level and even if you were desperate to read a certain book (or even if you’d already some in the same series at home!) you were not allowed to read outside your colour code.

Often, what is allowed or is part of curriculum is also boring and it follows the narrative and agenda set by someone, whose probably not spent a great of time in the classroom. It’s important to not end up with a narrow world view. Variety is the spice of life, even in books.

So, there you have it, some advice from a book obsessed adult!