Raising Children Who Love to Read

By Emma Thomas

As a child story time was one of my favourite activities at home or at school. I still love reading and I’m so grateful for the apps that allow me to access books on my phone in the middle of the night while I’m up with an unsettled baby!

This week is Book Week and the theme is ‘Dreaming with eyes open’. This is a beautiful sentiment and reminds me of the many wonderful stories I’ve read. 

We want our children to develop strong memories and positive associations with books and reading – the early years are the ideal times for this to occur. We understand that exposing children to books and language while they are young sets them up for a strong academic start. We also know that building positive relationships and strong memories develops children’s social/emotional skills and sense of identity. And we get to raise children who love reading! 

Before they are born?

You can start raising children who read before they are even born! Baby hearing is developing around 16-18 weeks in utero and from 6months the can hear what is happening outside the womb. Science has shown us that the language and sounds that children are exposed to before they are born impacts on their early learning and development. If you read to your baby while they are still in the womb they will begin to learn about the rhythm of language as well as learning your tone and voice. 

If you’d like to read more about this here is one interesting study – https://www.pnas.org/doi/10.1073/pnas.1302159110


Moments of Connection

Reading together is a beautiful way to connect with our children. Even with our babies! Those first few months can be a really challenging time for families but reading to your baby can be something you both enjoy. 

When we read with babies and children we are:

  • connecting through experiences
  • sharing our love of reading and literature 
  • teaching them to value and love stories
  • demonstrating facial expressions and emotions
  • modelling turn taking and conversation
  • sharing our culture and heritage 
  • sharing our favourite stories!


Developing a love of reading

“1 more story… please?”

When was the last time you had this negotiation? For me it was just last night. I love finishing our evening routine by curling up in my daughters bed and reading her a few stories. This is a special time of day and creates the opportunity for conversations, interaction and language development. 

When we read together children learn:

  • the value of language and stories
  • language patterns
  • how to use rhyme and rhythm 
  • the way books work and their structure
  • caring for books
  • genres and types of books


Books anytime!

While bedtime stories are my favourite – reading is really for anytime! We keep books scattered strategically around the house, in bags and even in the car. When she was toilet training my daughter loved being read a story while she sat on the toilet. Now that she’s a bit older she enjoys ‘I Spy’ books while I’m brushing her hair. And there is no rule that says you have to sit still while reading! Take some books outside and read on the trampoline or in a tree. 


A love of books and reading is a life long gift that we can give to our children! If we start early and make reading a pleasurable experience we can promote their academic development while creating precious memories.