Thrive in 2025: Hit the Books!

Create Reading Rituals

Kid reading under the covers

Books are as vital to your child's daily routine as meals, naps, and bathtime. Over time she'll start to enjoy them not only with you, but also on her own.

Fill the house. Since his daughter, Zoe, was born, Jarrett Krosoczka, author and illustrator of Good Night, Monkey Boy, and his wife have made a point of keeping children's books accessible in every room of the house.

Stop babying him. While board books are great, you should start to introduce titles with paper pages once your child is a toddler. "Teach him how to flip through them by himself," says Perl. "So what if they get a little dog-eared? Children's books aren't heirlooms."

Get caught reading. Be a good example by taking out your own real books to read. "If you tell your kids to read and they don't see you doing it, they'll get the message that it's not important," says Willems.

Sign him up for a library card. Vamos says her son was so proud to get his first card at age 4 that he showed it to all his preschool teachers. Now 6, he wears it on an elastic cord around his wrist whenever he goes to the library. Being able to choose and check out books makes him feel independent and gives him greater incentive to read.

Take advantage of technology. Nothing can replace the physical experience of cuddling up with your child and sharing a good book. But when you're busy making dinner or driving the family van, digital audio recordings are a great alternative to videos and gaming systems, says Perl. There are plenty of sources for free audio recordings for kids. Public libraries lend books on CD as well as audiobooks that come with a digital player (known as Playaways). Sites such as audible.com and librivox.org let you download book recordings to your MP3 player. Then there are e-book readers, like the Nook Color -- which lets your child zoom into pictures and choose a "read to me" option.

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