How to Inspire A Love of Reading and Books in Your Child


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As a child, I remember reading all the time. I loved books and I loved where my imagination took me when I read them. The books took on a whole new life as I imagined myself as my favorite characters. Every summer, my grandmother would take me to the library to pick out my books for summer reading. I would check out as many as I could and dig into each of them when I returned to her home.

This love of books followed me into adulthood. I remember bringing a boyfriend home to meet my father and we all got on the discussion of books. He said, “Rev. Gadson, your daughter has so many books. I never seen so many in one place.” Big mistake! My dad looked at him like he had three heads. Needless to say, we were not together for very much longer.

When I met my husband, he immediately recognized that we both shared a love for books but his love for them came as an adult. He will tell you that he didn’t like reading as a child but wish he did. Now, he can’t wait to get the next business or inspirational book to read.

Now that I have a child, I want him to love books like I did. Unfortunately, we live in the digital age where my child would prefer to pick up an iPhone or iPad instead of a book. At two, my son can work a phone better than most adults. He can go from one app to the next knowing exactly what each one will offer him. It’s incredible to watch but also very scary. I want Caleb to desire books this way.

I still think there is hope because we do live in a different time where we have an opportunity to still influence him to read. W have done some things to place books in the forefront of his mind at the right times. We had to get a little sneaky, but we are determined to turn our little boy into a reader and a techie (if he wants to be). Here are some techniques we are trying:

  1. Bath, Bed, Book

We have rolled back bed time an hour. We have a night owl so even if we want Caleb to go down at 9p, it may be 9:30/10p before he actually goes to sleep. So, we decided to get prepared for bed early. After dinner, we start shifting into bedtime. We start with a bath at 8p and then either Nate or I will get in the bed with him and read a few books. If he is still not tired at 9p, we will allow him to watch one episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and then it’s lights out.

I know many of you moms will tell me that he will be overstimulated by watching TV at that time, but many times it is exactly what he needs to go to sleep. Many times, he won’t make it to the “Hot Dog Song” before he falls asleep. 😉

  1. Purposeful Quiet Time

Caleb is two so he can be focused on one thing at one moment and then something totally different another moment. There are times where he gets so beside himself that he wants everything to go his way. Well, that’s the nature of the game with a two year old.

My husband and I incorporated something call purposeful quiet time. A friend of mine told me to have Caleb sit still for 5 minutes at a time. He’s not playing with toys or watching TV. He’s just sitting so he can calm down. During this time, we will allow him to either color or read a book. There is no negotiation here. He has only these two choices. He may whine for a bit but then he realized that these are better options than just sitting down doing nothing. This also gives us some time to sit with him and either read to him or color.

Purposeful quite time becomes purposeful quality time.

  1. Store books in a prominent place as a constant reminder of the option.

My two-year old never ceases to amaze me. He could be running up and down the hall wanting his daddy to play tag with him and a book will stop him in his tracks. We make sure books including his are in places where he would notice. He has already started pulling books off the bookshelves and using them as tracks for his race cars.

When he passes by a book in his room, he will pick it up and ask us to read it to him. We place his books everywhere and we watch how he interacts with them. Sometimes he will pick up and pretend to read and other times he will bring to book to us to read. There are times where he just wants to flip pages himself and tell us what he sees. At this stage, we are just soaking it all in but allowing him to explore.

I hope Caleb develops a love for reading like I did but I won’t force it on him. More than anything, I want him to have an appreciation for the world around him. I would hate for him to be a bookworm whose head is always in a book and he misses an opportunity to show compassion for someone in need. I want him to look for ways to show compassion because he read about the ingenuity of someone who developed a product that impacted millions for the better.

How do you encourage your child to read more? Share your experience with us!


Kesha Holloway

The author Kesha Holloway

Kesha Holloway is the founder of Living in Your Sweet Spot. She is passionate about being a wife and mother and desires to align herself with women equally passionate about their families. She believes the woman is the backbone of the family unit and it's her mission to help lift women to achieve their purpose.


  1. These are great ideas! I loved reading as a child as well, but my daughter has not picked up that love for reading so far.

    1. Amie, I truly believe it is because of technology. Even I read more on my iPhone or iPad. I also love Audible. I have a 50 minute drive to work and an hour to an hour and a half drive in the afternoon. I am able to get through many books because of technology. We are raising kids in an age where we want them to read but they also must be technologically savvy.

  2. I agree, sharing the love of reading and the joy of finding a book perfect for the moment is divine. My kids and I would visit the local library once or twice a week. Each time we checked out as many books as we could carry. Such a happy memory. Thank you for this memory.

  3. These are great tips. My kids were always huge readers because we didn’t have a tv and everyone always thought that was so strange that kids liked reading.

  4. The routine of reading before bed, and having quiet time during the day, is a good one. My kids all enjoy that. For my older son (almost 8), he had been begging for a later bed time since he was “older.” We said he could stay up for an extra half hour on school nights if he used that time for reading. He happily agreed! Also, getting books about subjects they like. Even if they are boring to us. Dragons and books about space are what are at the forefront of our house right now. Let them explore deeply things they enjoy. Then, reading is more fun to them!

  5. Reading with your child and modeling a lifestyle of lots of reading and good books is so important. I have eight children and only a few of the really enjoy reading. It saddens me, but I’m hopeful that they’ll all love it as adults. What a life-enriching hobby.

  6. I can relate! My mom used to take us to the library all the time when we were growing up and I loved it! I’m still SUCH a bookworm. I have to avoid Barnes & Noble or I’ll easily spend $100 lol

  7. Great advice, this is exactly how you raise a reader! When I taught preschool, I used to tuck books in every nook and cranny (car books by the Hot Wheels, architecture books in the Block Area, cookbooks in the Kitchen, etc.) and read constantly to the littles. My own kids were raised with a bedtime story every night until they were old enough to read the Harry Potter books on their own. Even then, I would sit with them and let them read it out loud to me : ) They are both adults now and surrounded by bookshelves, love to spend time at local bookstores and truly can’t understand their friends who aren’t readers.

  8. Now, I feel better about having books all over the house! 🙂 Thanks for sharing these great tips; in a gadget world, I hope my boys develop and keep a strong love of books!

  9. Love this! We are also big readers and have 3 boys who we are hoping will always love to learn and read! Definitely is a struggle in the technology age but I believe the same if you start them right away with books and they see you with books that it will be something they love too! Another reason I love to have hard copy books still instead of the tempting cheaper ebooks!

    1. Thank you! It was hard for me to switch to Kindle but our library was getting so big that we didn’t have a place to put all of our books.

  10. So great that you’ve always loved to read. I brought my kids to the library every week and they loved bringing stacks of books home. My daughter is an avid reader still into her teens.

  11. Exposing children to books early on in life will definitely help them develop a desire to read. I read many times a day to my 2 to 6 year old class, and have a Reading Area in my classroom as well.

  12. As a child I would say I hated reading so I’m so thrilled my kids love to read. We make it fun and try to read every night before bed. My friend just made my kids a reading pillow and it’s fun for them to pick out books to put into the pillow pocket each night.

  13. We do a lot of read alouds and even listen to stories on Audio. My oldest is 10 and we have listened to the whole Harry Potter series on audio (which was fantastic). Now that we are done with them, she is reading the stories all on her own because she loves them so much. It is fun to experience the stories with her.

  14. Love these suggestions! I have a 19 month old and 11 month and they love to flip through their books! Yes their attention span is slim, I think constant book exposure is so important!

  15. Great ideas! I was a reader and naturally imparted that love to my children by reading to them ALL the time! It’s my favorite thing to do with my grandchildren as well.

    1. Thank you! That’s so sweet you are continuing the tradition with your grandchildren. I find my mom doing the same with our son.

  16. yes! my house is filled with books! My daughter already has shelves and shelves in her room. We bought her a captains bed so she can store her books and her booklight literally on her bed with her. Haha. I believe a love of reading is the single most important thing we can give to our children.

  17. We have had books everywhere in our home since before our children were born. Reading to them was natural yet purposeful. Now, they love reading on their own!

  18. As much as I love technology, I think it saps kids’ attention spans and forces them to require interactivity to not get bored. This was a constant problem for me as a high school teacher a few years ago. I had to entertain the class, not just teach them! I feel like kids need to appreciate the perfect non-electronic antiboredom solution, to wit – reading! Anyway I would love for my kids to read, far more than they do, outside of class assignments. Thanks for the insightful post!

  19. Love these tips! I have never heard of purposeful quiet time but love that idea. I always complain that kids nowadays don’t know how to handle boredom so that is a great strategy. I am very strict with my daughter and access to technology. We don’t have cable tv, no tablets, and she has no electronics of her won. She is only 5 so right now it’s not an issue but I know as she gets older that may change. And we also do a book at bedtime every single day. She loves reading and hopefully that sticks.

  20. Reading to children is so good. I like the idea of having books in plain sight to catch his attention. Our son is learning to appreciate reading more and more. I hope that his love for reading grows and teaches him anything that he wants to learn.

  21. I absolutely love reading. It is my escape and a place to learn and grow. So I totally understand your desire for your little guy to love books too! I have 3 kids and am super excited that my older 2 are bookworms! My youngest is still learning to read. We have always had bedtime stories, that still continue even though my oldest is approaching 11. My mom read me stories at bedtime and I think that it helped infuse a love for reading in me. I just make sure that I read a book that is engaging for all 3 of my kids. If the book is not engaging for my little one, I’ll read one of her books first before reading something the other two will enjoy. This at least keeps her from begging for her book the entire time I try to read something else!

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