My 2 children LOVE to read – here’s how it happened!

I’ve spoken about how my 2 children were the inspiration behind Spike’s Sight Words. My son found reading difficult at first hence why I set up the educational board game company. My daughter took to reading however like a duck does to water! Their reading paths have been very different but they do share a love of books and reading and here is how I influence this.

Read to them since they were born

As soon as I was pregnant with my daughter I had visions of what her bedroom and book shelf would look like. It wasn’t until she was a few months old that I bought her her first book! I and other family members would read to her from a young age. It was a good habit to get into as a parent, provided lots of bonding and I even started pointing things out such as ‘sun, grass etc’. Even though she didn’t of course know what I was saying, I was demonstrating how to use the language and communicate. I of course did the same with my son also.

Surrounded the home with books

Books, books and more books! I remember I had books in their bedroom, books in the lounge, books in the kitchen, books in the bathroom and even books for the bathtub! This meant my children grew up with a wonderful exposure to books. They could physically see them, touch them, smell them even! Whichever room they went into they could always pick a book to read. Some of our books were new and cost the usual price but most were second hand books which I got for a low price or even free!

Ban / Reduce Technology

Ok, so despite not being too old, I am actually really ‘old-fashioned’ with this. I don’t think children should be exposed to any technology at such a young age. I am talking 0-3 years old here. I know a lot of people will disagree but I wanted to mention this point as I believe it was a big factor in my children loving to read. Because they didn’t have the TV on always or they didn’t have ipads and online games to use, it meant that they had to learn to play with toys, read books for entertainment etc. It wasn’t easy doing this by the way (even on flights I still insisted on not using the screen and instead we read and played) but I strongly believe that giving less is more and had I given all these gadgets to my children, they wouldn’t like books as much. I should add that now that my daughter is 7 she is using technology and low and behold, despite not doing any of it in her early years, she isn’t behind in it at all cementing my belief that young young children do not need technology.

Read, Read and Read

Now I know everyone is different and for some Time is a massive issue but I believe there is no excuse for not reading to your child at least once a day while they are young. I read books to my children over breakfast, over lunch and even at supper time. This habit continues even now – with my children being 6 and 7 except as they are of school age, our reading has been reduced to over dinner in the evening. But while they were young, I read them books over breakfast and lunch and we stopped at certain places to discuss the story or picture. This then lead into other conversations – helping them with their oral speaking also. When they were young, we could devour at least 10 books a day this way. Now that my children are older, we read larger more complicated books together. I go for a mix between fiction and non-fiction books so it isn’t just ‘learning’ books the whole time. This keeps their passion for reading. Right now, we are reading Christmas books as well as books about the ancient Egyptians!

My daughter loved picking up MY ‘display’ books and pretended to read them!

Let them see and feel YOUR books

Now there will be some parents who will not like their children to touch, feel and ‘read’ their books but I feel it is important to at least have them on show. If your child does want to have a look, then why not? Teach them to respect the book and all should be fine. My daughter just LOVED pretending to read MY books and it is funny because this picture above shows one of my ‘display’ books (ie one I have never read) but still it engaged my daughter into loving (and respecting) books.


Going to a restaurant? Bring a book. Going on an aeroplane? Bring a book. Going over to the grandparents house? Bring a book. I did this as much as possible. We didn’t go anywhere without at least one book. I remember going for picnics in the park and of course, we would sit and read a book before the playground. This taught my children that books can be read and enjoyed anywhere.

Go to libraries

Looking after toddlers can be hard and expensive work but the local libraries are a GREAT way to spend time together. They often have story time and lots of support for parents. I took my children to the library at least once a week when they were young. Again, they loved reading the books, playing with the games they had. This gave them a positive exposure to books from a young age.

And finally, BE CREATIVE

Engage your child in anyway you can. For me, my daughter loved receiving notes from a ‘Reading Fairy’ I had created. The Fairy would deliver her new words to learn every night which she just relished. I’ve explained before how my son never got excited about this fantasy from me. Instead I would engage him with car stories or I would write a little story and have him in the book. He loved it. Sometimes I would just write it on a piece of paper. Other times, I would type it up and just use some images from the internet and paste him into the scene. He was only young and didn’t know or care for the ‘professionalism’ of what it looked like. He was excited that he was in a book! I am assuming by the time my children read this they won’t mind the fact that I once made up a challenge from ‘The World Reading Association’ which challenged them to read 50 books in a week, My daughter smashed that record and received her home made certificate and plastic trophy. This gave her a positive association with books and reading – she still has the trophy in her bedroom!

I am very proud of the fact my children read well and have a passion for reading. I’ve had a mixed experience with it all. My daughter learned quickly and my son did not. I think my PERSEVERANCE with my son has really led to him enjoying books and reading. I could have ‘given up’ over his struggles and left it to the school but I really felt passionate about him enjoying reading and I wanted to be the one to instill that love.