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One of my top priorities as a mom is helping my kids develop a LOVE for reading. I think it is so hugely valuable…they can go on adventures/time travel, even to made-up lands like Narnia…they develop sympathy and compassion for people like them and different from them…they learn truths and how to act like heroes… So much good comes from reading.

1.) Read Aloud Revival. I thought I liked books before, and then Sarah got a hold of me. Whew! It will forever have shaped my family. And I am forever grateful. She has amazing podcasts. Gobs of book recommendations for all ages. And she has things like the 31 Day Challenge. We are doing the current challenge for January and it is thrilling for me to watch as my boys reading explodes. They have to read for 15 minutes, OUT LOUD, each day. I was nervous about 15 minutes…seemed like a stretch for them…but it has gone so well! It goes by fast. We use our color timer. Elias has had his nose stuck in one book or another for the past 2 days. He actually has been reading ahead of us in Ronia, the Robber’s Daughter. Which makes me nervous since I am editing it a bit. And Espen set out the books tonight that he wants to read the next day. Ahhhh. I love it!

{Elias is reading a “Mr.Putter and Tabby” book. These books are so wonderful!! There is a whole bunch of them. They are sweet stories about an old man and his cat. Elias was laughing several times as he read today.}


2.) Have books available ALL over your house. Baskets, wall shelves, book shelves… Below are some places we keep books. Try to have books displayed with the cover out as much as you can, not the spine. Obviously, on a book shelf you can’t pull this off very easily. That is why baskets, wall shelves, etc are so great!

A book nook. In the main living area, where little ones like to hang out with everyone else. It is a short season of life when you are helping kids fall in love with books. Even if you normally would not want children’s books in your living room, I think it’s worth it for a time.

The library bin. When we bring library books home, they come out of the bags and into the bin. This way little hands can see them easily. Books rotate out of here almost weekly as we get to the library and bring home new ones.

This is a rolling cart I picked up at Target. It’s great book storage and allows you to face covers out.


Here’s our IKEA spice racks converted into the hallway book shelves. They are at the perfect height for little eyes…with covers out. It is amazing how much these books are handled. If I have a book in mind for someone, I place it here and without a doubt it will be found and read. Without me even having to say anything. These books are also close to the bathroom, so they get grabbed often for that kind of thing… Right now there is a “snow/winter” theme in them. Next month I’ll switch them out for V-day/love books.

These are picture ledges that you can pick up at any home improvement store. These are used like the spice racks above. They are from Menards…they aren’t expensive and they provide fantastic book displays. Did I mention the beauty of having covers face out?? Book covers are much more tempting to pick up than spines with letters on them. These picture ledges come in many varying lengths and you can grab a can of spray paint and make them your own.


3.) Keep a list of books that you hear about for your library wish list, birthday/Christmas list. I have lists for the children and also lists for me. I also keep a list of all the books that I start. I get to give them a star rating when I finish them. If I have to return them to the library before I finish, I write the page number down so that I can check it out again and know where I left off. Keeping these lists is a HUGE reading motivator. I have been surprised at this. Here’s my physical copy of books I’ve read. I also keep a note on my phone for books to remember.



4.) Buy used to save on your wallet. We have a wonderful local used book store, but there are tons of used options on Amazon as well. Goodwill is also a great place to pick up books. Average price is $1.99. I don’t always have luck, but it sure feels good when I find a gem there.

5.) Use your library! I love a trip to the library. Sometimes when I get away by myself, that is where I head. It’s quiet, and friendly among stacks and stacks of books. I want my kids to feel that too. Plus, there are so many AMAZING resources that the library offers. FREE! I heard once that a recent immigrant, when asked what surprised him most about the United States, said the library system. It just blew him away that you could walk into a place, take as many books as you wanted, and walk out. Libraries are awesome. And a great way to decide if you should put a book on your “to own someday” list.

6.) Ok one more. We have to turn off the screens. I know. Don’t hate me. I’m sorry. It’s so easy to do. And the kids are instantly entertained and calm when the screen goes on. But in the long run… I don’t think the instant gratification for us and for them is worth it. I heard an analogy about screens vs. books. If you offer your kids watermelon or cotton candy, they will go for the cotton candy every time. They would be perfectly happy if you only offered them watermelon…but since you put cotton candy out there as well, there’s no question what they will choose. If you offer kids books or screens…they will probably opt screens every time. Long term though, it is not a healthy answer. Do what you have to do to get off screens. It takes work. It takes getting into the habit of choosing books over screen time. I won’t say we never watch tv. We do. But it is saved for very special occasions or as a reward, not as a daily norm. From age 3-13ish, my parents did not have a tv in our home. It is a gift that I will be forever grateful for!!

Read out loud forever!! Don’t stop when they can read for themselves. Share stories TOGETHER. Read to them, and read for yourself where they can see you.

Elias took this picture of us last night. Reading over dessert…because we just couldn’t wait til bedtime reading.


Here’s the list without all the added commentary. 🙂
Read Aloud Revival
Have books all over the house, in easy to reach places
Keep a list
Buy used
Use the library
Turn off the screens