February 8, 2019

Here’s How to Teach Kids to Read at Home

I have always loved books, and it has always been a dream of mine to help parents learn to teach kids to read at home, like I've done with my girls.

As a child, reading was the easiest way to discover new worlds. I will never forget how excited I was when I read my first book, Green Eggs and Ham. (Was anyone’s first book NOT a Dr. Seuss?) Growing up before cell phones, I often had a book to keep me company on a long car trip (if I wasn’t carsick) or after a test was finished. I LOVED books and the library was a magical place. 

When Marc and I first started dating, he was actually a writer and loved books as much as me. In fact, for our first wedding anniversary, I bought him a limited edition of Catcher In the Rye, his favorite book of all time. (I may or may not have received a shoe mat for that anniversary, but who’s keeping track??)

How to Encourage Reading Habits

When our girls were born, it was just a natural thing for us to introduce them to books as early as we could. I remember Marc reading to Chloe before she was even born, just so she would hear his voice. As little girls, we read them stories every night at bedtime that taught them new things or took them into different worlds. And we loved the few minutes of quiet time with them.

How to Encourage Reading Habits

It makes me sad when I hear kids and teenagers say that they “hate” to read. I feel like they are missing out on something that has brought so much happiness to our lives. There may not be a surefire way to guarantee your kids will love to read, but here are a few ways how to encourage reading habits and teach kids to read at home

My Tips

  1. Read to them before they are born. I know it sounds odd, but there is something special about letting your babe hear your voice in more than just conversation.


  1. Start a library for them. Have all of the guests at your baby shower bring their favorite children’s book instead of a card. Every birthday and Christmas, Marc buys Chloé and Clara a book and he writes them a message inside that relates to something happening in their lives that year. I love that they will have these for their entire lives.


  1. Take family trips to the library. When Chloe was little, we made it a point to go to the local library and let her choose books for the week. If she didn’t love them, she didn’t have to read them. But most of the time, she found new books and series that she loved. And those trips to the library are some of her favorite childhood memories. Plus, it’s FREE. We were young and broke and needed to save every penny we could. I had dance bills to pay.


  1. Read before bed. I know this is the most obvious one, but it’s so effective. Even now that Clara is old enough to read on her own, I still will read to her a chapter from a special book. We LOVE this and sometimes a certain teenager will even join in to listen. But she’s not “really listening”, she’s just “saying goodnight.”


  1. Go to bookstores' story hour. Often times, the large book retailers will have special events in-store for children. Go! Grab a coffee and let your children participate. Plus, built-in babysitter for an hour! Hell yea!


  1. Read a book and then see the movie. Sooooo many huge movies are based on books. Have your kids read the books and then plan a family movie night to watch the movie and talk about the differences between the books and the film. Ask which they liked better. I've also collected a list of the best chick flicks of all time for you here


  1. If you are planning a family trip, see if there are any books about the location. Read them before you go. You will be surprised how excited they will be to share facts that they remember during the trip. I also do this and torture my family with facts so they like to stop me from talking because they already know them.


  1. Tell you kids about books that impacted you at their age. I have vivid memories of so many books as a child and my girls LOVE to think of me at their age. Then, they want to read the same books so we can #twin. Hello, Nancy Drew? Babysitter’s Club? Sweet Valley High? Maybe we need a Retro Book Club??


  1. Have them write down words they don’t understand. Help them research and figure out the meanings. Not only will their vocabularies grow, but they may also learn how to use a dictionary. Wha? Do those still exist?


  1. Have a family book club. Choose a book that everyone can read, or even just the kids. Have the kids ask each other questions. Ask them if they know anyone like the characters or if they have experienced anything similar to the plot. There are so many great book clubs online that have thought starter questions (Chloe’s Book Club, anyone??)


How to Encourage Reading Habits

I hope this list gave you some ways how to encourage reading habits. It is one of my FAVORITE things about my girls and I feel like that I have given them the BEST lifelong gift. What did I miss? Do you have ideas? Do you need a great list of books to inspire you? Check out these suggestions and share them, too!

How to Encourage Reading Habits

Thanks for reading and sharing!

XO, Christi

View Comments +

  1. Elizabeth

    February 22nd, 2019 at 7:08 pm

    As a public librarian I LOVE this post. I got my love of reading from my dad and obviously it became my passion and my job.

  2. clukasiak

    February 22nd, 2019 at 9:32 pm

    I LOVE that you are a librarian! One of my first summer jobs was in my elementary school library in 5th grade. I think every child should know how to find a book by usuing a card catalog!!

  3. Kathy

    February 22nd, 2019 at 8:55 pm

    I did exactly the same with my daughter (she is now 27) I read to her from birth and she went on to read all my childhood books (Enid Blyton, Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfield amongst others) as well as the Harry Potter books, Whitby Witches and many, many others. She still loves reading and at present we are both reading the James Patterson women’s murder club books. The gift of the pleasure of reading is one of the best things we can give to our children. I can so relate to this Christi, you are an excellent mum ❤️

  4. clukasiak

    February 22nd, 2019 at 9:28 pm

    I LOVE this and feel the exact same way. Reading is such a gift and it really makes me sad when I hear kids say that they “hate” it. I will need to find a book for Chloe and me to read together now. And thank you for the kind words!!

  5. Emma

    February 22nd, 2019 at 10:02 pm

    I totally agree with you Christi. I find that books are magical because you can escape your own world and problems.

  6. clukasiak

    February 22nd, 2019 at 10:20 pm

    Hi Emma, 1000%. Books have taken me places that I never could have imagined!

  7. Emma xx 😘

    February 22nd, 2019 at 10:05 pm

    I totally agree with you Christi! I find books magical because you can escape your own world and problems.

  8. Nicola

    February 22nd, 2019 at 10:14 pm

    A wonderful example of how reading books expands ones mind. I read to my 8 month old every day xx

  9. clukasiak

    February 22nd, 2019 at 10:18 pm

    Love this! I always read to my girls and now they LOVE reading. I truly feel like we gave them a lifelong gift. Keep reading, mama!!

  10. Marija

    February 22nd, 2019 at 11:43 pm

    I LOVE this post. I strongly believe that children learn by example and you and Marc gave Chloe and Clara a great one to learn from!

    My mom died when I was 10 but I still have vivid memories of how she introduced me to books and how she always had one in her hands. Now I feel close to her whenever I read something from her library I inherited – especially when I find some hidden notes or underlined quotes she really loved.
    Books are magic❤️

  11. clukasiak

    February 23rd, 2019 at 12:39 am

    This comment is everything. I am sorry that you lost your mom so young, but I love the way that books make you feel close to her. And the hidden notes and underlines quotes are probably the best thing I have heard in awhile. Love this so much

  12. Sam

    February 22nd, 2019 at 11:56 pm

    My mother is a public school teacher and she did quite a few of these things when I was growing up! I’m so grateful for that, especially now that I’m in college. Being well read (which can easily lead to becoming a strong writer) never goes out of style and can help you in MANY aspects of life.

  13. clukasiak

    February 23rd, 2019 at 12:36 am

    Completely agree with this statement. Plus, it never hurts to have a book that you can discuss easily.

  14. Leslie

    February 23rd, 2019 at 12:30 am

    I’m a high school English teacher. As I was reading this post, I was just thinking “Yes. Please. Every parent to this!” lol. Your tips are so spot on and remind me of how my parents raised me to love reading!

  15. clukasiak

    February 23rd, 2019 at 12:33 am

    Hi Leslie, thnak you so much! That compliment menas a lot to me. And yay for raising readers!

  16. McKenna

    February 23rd, 2019 at 6:40 am

    Mrs. Christi, thank you so much for posting this! My momma loves to read, and she has instilled in me a love for reading. I didn’t truly get into reading until high school. Now, I’m always reading. Books have the ability to make us think, transport us to different worlds, and expand our minds/vocabularies.
    “There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate’s loot on Treasure Island.” – Walt Disney

  17. clukasiak

    February 24th, 2019 at 3:25 pm

    Hi McKenna, Okay, firt, I love that Walt Disney quote. Second, thank you mom for teacahing you to love reading! It’s such a gift!! XO, Christi

  18. Heather Lewis

    February 23rd, 2019 at 11:32 am

    I love this post. When I first found out that Chloe loved to read on the show, it really gave me hope for my generation. I’m 23 but was the only one from my family and friends who really loved to read and I was forever sad that I could never retell a story I read to any of my cousins. (My brothers also read books, but weren’t quite the devourer of words that I was.)

    So thank you for this post and I hope it inspires many people to start reading! My favorite book memory was when I was 7 and my father brought back an unavridged copy of Anne of Green Gables from a business trip. It was just so special and I clicked with Anne – she was the character that opened my eyes (and brain) to how wonderful books could be.

  19. clukasiak

    February 23rd, 2019 at 2:00 pm

    Hi Heather, oh my gosh…I LOVED Anne of Green Gables!! I love that your dad brought that book back as a special gift. Thank you for stopping by and the kind words. XO, Christi

  20. Maisie

    February 23rd, 2019 at 5:13 pm

    I am reading Chloe’s book and I love reading my mum got me into it ! I used to struggle with reading but I don’t anymore
    Maisie x

  21. clukasiak

    February 24th, 2019 at 3:11 pm

    Hi Maisie, THIS MAKES ME SO HAPPY!! You have No idea! Pleae send your mum my love and thank her for giving you the gift of loving to read! XO, Christi

  22. Jacqueline

    February 23rd, 2019 at 5:22 pm

    Retro Book club?! Yes please! I have always loved reading! But lately I’ve found my schedule too busy… Or so I thought, but this blog post reminded me just how much I love to read, and maybe it’s time to rework my schedule to fit more of it in! Besides I’m always up for a challenge!

    I am so excited to be able to follow this blog. I’ve always really loved your heart and how real you present yourself. It’s always encouraged me to present myself the same way to love those in my life your sleep and to always be real.
    Ps… I had cake for breakfast 😂

  23. clukasiak

    February 24th, 2019 at 3:10 pm

    Dead that you had cake for breakfast, girl! LOVE IT. I’m trying so hard to be “good” right now and that sounds amazing. I will definitely try to figure out how to incorporate a retro book club. What were some of your favs? I read Babysitter’s Club, Sweet Valley High, those RL Stein books, Nanacy Drew, Anne of Green Gables and, later on, FLOWERS IN THE ATTIC. (WHO gave me that book???!) But I totally love that idea! XO, Christi

  24. Alyona

    February 24th, 2019 at 4:50 pm

    Such a great post! I read my first book when I was two and a half, and being left without access to books was the worst punishment for me in the childhood. Still don’t go anywhere without a book 🙂

    And Sweet Valley, OMG, I was so sad when to find out that there were much more books than I had at home library, but these books were not released in my country, Russia.

    Sending you lots of love 🌸

  25. clukasiak

    February 25th, 2019 at 4:42 pm

    Hi Alyona,
    That was the WORST punishment!! Sending you lots of love back! XO, Christi

  26. Savannah

    February 24th, 2019 at 10:37 pm

    Some of my very favorite memories are of going to the library once a week with my grandmother growing up. I would leave with a ton of books to devour that week and would find a new stack to check out the next week. I don’t have kids yet, but I sincerely hope I can raise them to be readers.

  27. clukasiak

    February 25th, 2019 at 4:38 pm

    Hi Savannah,
    I LOVE this story! Not only did you go to the library, but you went with your grandmother. I had such a special relationship with mine! And I firmly believe that your love of reading will rub off on your future children.
    XO, Christi

  28. Brandi Petersen

    February 25th, 2019 at 2:43 am

    I would love to be in retro book club if you start one. I read all the ones you listed.

  29. clukasiak

    February 25th, 2019 at 4:36 pm

    Hi Brandi,
    I will definitely keep that in mind! XO, Christi

  30. Elvi

    February 25th, 2019 at 1:39 pm

    I love reading books and I love the books from chloes book club! She is my biggest inspiration 😘But its hard cause I barely find time (free time)because i have a lot of studies

  31. clukasiak

    February 25th, 2019 at 4:34 pm

    Hi Elvi,
    I understan an that makes sense! Thanks for the love and support and saying hello!
    XO, Christi

  32. Sara

    February 25th, 2019 at 3:20 pm

    Oh i love reading books i remember some of the books i read in elementary school and some as i got older i would rather read any book even if the lights went off in a bad storm lol. ❤💛💕💖😊😁

  33. clukasiak

    February 25th, 2019 at 4:33 pm

    Hi Sara,
    My girls LOVE to read during a thunderstorm, too!
    XO, Christi

  34. Dancefan1

    February 25th, 2019 at 5:28 pm

    This is such good advice. A lot of kids nowadays dont understand how great books are and how important their role has been in shaping our society. I think part of the problem is they associate books with being tied to a chair for hours in school but that’s probably a different blog post topic lol

  35. clukasiak

    February 27th, 2019 at 2:54 pm

    For sure! I think once they discover how enjoyable it can be, the game changes! XO, Christi

  36. Meghan Borum

    February 28th, 2019 at 2:45 am

    I LOVE this post. Being a teenager, I hear those things all the times, “i hate reading”. It really breaks my heart because it gives me so much joy, just like it does to you and your family. I know I will pass my love of reading on to my kids, and I love your tips! I wish more kids could have a love for reading like i always have. Reading is such a huge part of my life, and i have no idea what I would do without it. 🙂

  37. clukasiak

    March 2nd, 2019 at 4:27 pm

    Hi Meghan, I love that you are a teen that reads! Makes my mom heart so happy!! Thanks for stopping by and welcome to my world! XO, Christi

  38. Esther Rose

    February 28th, 2019 at 5:01 am

    I’m Chloe’s age and I LOVE reading! My parents both love to read too and they did most of the things on this list!

  39. clukasiak

    March 2nd, 2019 at 4:22 pm

    Esther! That makes me sooooo happy to hear! Thanks for saying hi and welcome!! XO, Christi

  40. Frankie

    February 28th, 2019 at 12:14 pm

    I am a very avid reader so I loved this post and I think your daughters are amazing

  41. clukasiak

    March 2nd, 2019 at 4:18 pm

    I love meeting avid readers! Welcome and thanks for the kind words! XO, Christi

  42. Jane

    March 1st, 2019 at 5:15 pm

    I cried reading this .
    I am a lot like you and books were my escape from a lot of really hard and scary things growing up. I have done almost all of these things to raise little readers and though their tastes are all pretty different, i’m 3 for 3 so far!
    You have raised 2 amazing humans and you are an amazing human yourself.
    I also love me some cake for breakfast.
    Keep sharing your pearls!


  43. clukasiak

    March 2nd, 2019 at 2:28 pm

    Hi Jane,
    Thank you for the sweetest comment. That makes me simultaneously happy and tearful. Books ARE magic! XO, Christi

  44. Rhyan

    March 3rd, 2019 at 6:33 am

    Hey Christi! LOVING your new blog, keep up the good work! I wanted to add that another tip is to not just TELL your kids to read, but also to do it yourself. Kids mimick their parents. Actions speak louder than words!

    Also, thank you for sincerely replying to all these comments! You’re the best!

  45. clukasiak

    March 3rd, 2019 at 1:57 pm

    Rhyan! YES!! You are totally right! I should have included that. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to say hi! Welcome. XO, Christi

  46. Heather

    March 3rd, 2019 at 8:29 pm

    Thanks for sharing some good tips! My family is big reading family, and my did all of those things with me and my sisters and I read a lot (definitely more than the average person). It makes me sad as well when people say that they hate to read. Breaks my heart because reading has brought me so much joy. Love the blog and I’ve read all of those books you guys are holding in the pictures.

  47. clukasiak

    March 4th, 2019 at 1:43 pm

    Hi Heather! Thanks for the love and support! And its super great to “meet” someone else who did all of those things!! Welcome to the blog. XO, Christi

  48. Sara

    March 8th, 2019 at 2:22 am

    I’m all for a Babysitters Club and Sweet Valley High book club! haha… but really.

  49. clukasiak

    March 8th, 2019 at 3:18 pm

    Sarah! Right??! I kinda love it! Thanks for stopping by! XO, Christi

  50. Molly

    March 15th, 2019 at 1:25 am

    Reading will always be one of my absolute favorite things to do! The best memory from my childhood was going to the library with my dad and picking out books.

  51. clukasiak

    March 27th, 2019 at 1:49 am

    Hi Molly, That comment and memory made me smile! Are you reading anything great right now? Xo, Christi

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