Here are a few things I do to encourage my toddler to read:
1. Make a feasible reading list.
It's important to choose the right books for your child--books that are age-appropriate and captivating. For example, babies and toddlers love books with colorful pictures and cute characters. Words in the books should be simple and in large, bold print. Pop-up or touch and feel features are a big plus. You may also want to keep the reading list to a reasonable length. In my opinion, reading a few good books is better than reading tons of mediocre ones.
2. Set up a reading schedule.
If you would like reading to become an indispensable part of your child's life, you may incorporate reading into her daily routine by setting aside 1-2 hours a day for reading. Over time, she'll read not only out of interest but also out of habit. It can be really hard to establish a schedule at the beginning, but your efforts will pay off in the long run (isn't this true for feeding, sleeping and many other aspects of baby raising?).
3. Read to or with your child
Parents are a child's first teachers. Children love to imitate whatever their parents do. You may take advantage of this to cultivate your child's passion for books. For younger kids, read the book aloud slowly and preferably in funny, different voices, point at corresponding pictures, and ask them to read along. You may also turn words into lyrics and sing the book instead (My son does that a lot). For kids old enough to read independently, I think it a good idea to sync your reading schedule with theirs. How would you expect your child to read while you're watching TV or playing video games? She'll be easily distracted and tempted to do things that appear to be more entertaining than reading. Reading to or with your kid is also a great way to bond with her.
4. Encourage role play and storytelling
To make story books even more appealing, let your kid play the story out with you or with other kids. Encourage her to take different roles in the story and perform the way she thinks is right. Show interest in the books she read alone by asking her to retell the story to you. This will help polish her language skills and boost her confidence. My son is too young to tell a full story, so I keep asking him questions like "What happens next?", "Who comes?" "What does he do?" and "Why does he do that?" to help the story flow. Although I already know the story well, I never correct him if he changes any details, and let his imagination reign instead. He always looks very proud of himself after telling mommy an interesting story (OS: Mommy and I read the book together, but she's so forgetful. I know better!)
Please keep in mind that every child is unique. You've got to know your kid's special traits and cater your strategies and techniques to her needs.
Looking for more tips and tricks for summer reading? Check out the widget in my sidebar and see what other moms are doing to get their kids to embrace summer reading.
Disclosure: I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms blogging program to be eligible to get an "I Can Read!" book. For more information on how you can participate, click here.