There are endless advantages to instilling a love of reading in children. What’s the best way to do it? Let’s learn from a book lover, bookstore owner, and leader of a non-profit organization.

Carolyn Carillo owns A Book Above in Elmhurst and runs a non-profit called Readers Ignite.

She watches kids and that is what informs her programs and book-buying decisions. So, although there are many cute kids’ books that gain a great deal of popularity, she has found that children really respond to books about things that they already have an interest in.

If your son or grandson takes a shine to trains, he will be elated at the opportunity to learn more about them in books. Follow his interests and watch how excited he becomes when he realizes books are his key to this prized information.

Pay close attention to things the kids in your life are intrigued by. Present them with books about these things to see if they are topics that instill the yearning for more. By making the association that books can give them the information they’re seeking, it will increase the value of books in their eyes. This is where the life-long relationship is born!

Of course, bring them books about things that are out of their current scope of knowledge as well. Bring them books about kids in other cultures, about spirituality, about the natural world…

As Carolyn says, “Reading unlocks doors.  It unlocks the doors you can see.  But maybe more importantly, it unlocks the ones that you can’t see.”

The other thing that Carolyn is absolutely adamant about is actual reading—not just to the kids in your life but reading real, physical books yourself.

Reading on an electronic device doesn’t give you as many points because children can’t really grasp what the internet is all about. (Shoot, neither can we!) We don’t want to set the example of technology addiction. They need to see that we value reading and that it’s something that continues throughout our lives.

And last read to your children.  YES!  Even when they can read for themselves! She says, “Over and over, my research continues to reveal that the most successful adults were read to, even throughout high school. Maybe your kids won’t admit it, but if you do it right, they will still love that special time. Keep at it. It is special family time that can be replaced by nothing else in the world. It is your devoted time with your children.”

Pay a visit to her bookstore with your little ones. Check for special event dates. //

And consider volunteering with her non-profit //