There are all types of reasons a child may not be enthusiastic about reading; it’s important to ask lots of questions to your young one about these feelings. Are they frustrated? Bored? Scared? More seriously, it’s possible a child can be suffering from a learning difference that prevents them from being able to be fully or functionally literate. This could lead to a dislike for books that, if ignored, can linger throughout their life.

Having loving, patient conversations with kids is a first step to helping towards a more book friendly future.

Whether it’s a lack of confidence, patience, or some larger milestone to conquer reading is one of the most essential, mind-opening gifts we can give to children. But, it’s our responsibility to help nurture and nourish a child’s love for books.

Here’s 5 simple, universal steps to help kids love reading:

1. Create a special space

How about a reading fort with comfy pillows, glowing light, and special decorations? Feeling comfortable has a big effect on feeling confident. By creating a special space for reading, you’re helping to associate the activity of reading with being cozy and safe. And kids know they have their own private world to enjoy books in their own time and pace.

2. Read together, set an example

Simple as this, monkey see, monkey do. Rather than simply tell children it’s so cool to read, show them by engrossing yourself in a book.

3. Routine is everything

Reading a little everyday means it’s more likely children will continue to read or begin to read for longer. Even 10 minutes every day can make a big difference as children will know and anticipate that there is a special time of day set aside to read.

4. Shared Reading

Sit down with a child and take turns with reading; alternate pages, sentences, or chapters. Just simply being by a child’s side during the process can ease pressure when it comes to understand a book. And, if children don’t understand a word or context, you’re right there to help.  Having only to read a small amount at a time also can make a book seem less intimidating.

5. Make books come to life

Books are anything but two-dimensional, so incorporate this into children’s reading justing fun hands-on activities. If they’re reading a novel about cookies, go ahead and bake some! Or, how about making a clay sculpture of the main character to really bring them to life? Look at photos and maps or go visit the place of the book’s setting.