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How to Spark A Child’s Love of Reading


Before she was named the 2024 Florida Teacher of the Year, Adrianna Swearingen was a Bay County media specialist encouraging her students to read more to learn more. She facilitated the student-run morning broadcasts and advanced the accelerated reading program. Now serving as Florida’s Christa McAuliffe Ambassador for Education, Swearingen shared with us in this guest blog post why and how to help your children or grandchildren become early readers.

As a parent, librarian and classroom teacher, I am passionate about sparking a lifelong love of reading in every child. Time and time again I see the results from developing strong reading skills early in a child’s life. Reading early and consistently lays the foundation for future success. The research clearly shows that good readers perform better academically.

Additionally, reading fosters tremendous confidence! When kids discover the pure magic of getting immersed in a good book, they gain confidence in their skills as readers. And the more children read, the more their abilities improve, making reading even more rewarding and fun. This extraordinarily positive cycle feeds itself. With each new story, their vocabulary expands, their imagination stretches and their capacity for learning and creativity grows.

The benefits of reading are vast — from improved concentration and reduced stress to enhanced analytical abilities. As both a teacher and mom, I encourage families to foster a passion for reading early on. Just 20 minutes a day of shared reading time can make a huge impact!

Try these tips to make reading a fun part of your family routine:

  • Set an example by letting kids see you reading for fun
  • Keep baskets of easily accessible books in every room
  • Ensure books are appropriate for the child’s age and reading level
  • Have family read-aloud time
  • Let kids pick out library books to bring home
  • Listen to audiobooks together in the car
  • Create cozy reading nooks
  • Limit screen time
  • Praise your child’s reading efforts

Also take full advantage of the many exciting reading incentive programs, family literacy nights and free monthly book services available through your school and local libraries. For example, the New Worlds Reading Initiative is a free, at-home program for eligible students. Each student may receive one book each month based on their reading level and interests. All of these services create a robust literacy culture, showing that our entire community is invested in fostering a love of reading! Please explore the dynamic resources accessible right in your neighborhood.

With some inspiration, every child can discover the magic and unlimited potential available between two covers of a book.

Let the reading adventures unfold and our Florida students shine!

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