I love this photo as it reminds me of my son's love of books. Moreso even than a soft toy!
He and his sister have always loved reading and that's because I have always read to them. The other day I asked my daughter why she enjoyed reading so much. She replied that no matter how grumpy she is feeling, if she takes herself off to read, she will lose herself so much in another world that she forgets why she was grumpy in the first place. I love that.
I still read to them now even though they nearly teenagers - it's just something we have always done together and we both look forward to being together at the end of the day.
I'd put my kids' love of reading down to these 5 factors:
1. I read to them from the moment they were born. To start with, it wasn't about the books; it was about the feeling of snuggling down with mum or dad to enjoy looking at something together. it didn't matter if I read the words or not (though later they would know if I skipped a page!)
2. I used silly voices and became the characters to keep their interest.
3. I always read to them but didn't expect them to read huge chunks aloud to me. Instead, my son would be one of the characters. So for example in the Beast Quest books, every time Tom said something, my son would read that line. This meant the pressure was off him to read aloud to me so we enjoyed books together
4. I chose books that had a repetitive theme and often those that rhymed - that way they could predict the text.
5. We enjoyed listening to audio books on long journeys etc so then when it came to reading they had already heard the words and story they were going to read.
My kids' vocabulary has become better than mine and I put this purely down to the fact that they are avid readers. Of course in my day, we couldn't press on the word for an instant thesaurus like you can on a kindle these days. By reading aloud to their young children, parents help them acquire the skills they will need to be ready for school, such as an increased vocabulary and pre-literacy skills. Not to mention the feeling of wellbeing for both parent and child when snuggling up together at the end of the day.