Cultivating Your Child’s Love for Reading

A Guide to Cultivating Your Child’s Love of Reading
by Leslie Campo

Cultivating Your Child's Love of Reading
Photo via Pexels

Fostering a love for reading in children is a priceless gift that benefits their overall development and expands their understanding of the world. Instilling early reading habits not only enhances their academic skills but also nurtures their imagination and empathy. This article outlines practical strategies for cultivating children’s reading habits: creating shared reading times, offering a variety of books, setting up a cozy reading space, encouraging regular library visits, establishing a daily reading routine, balancing screen time, engaging in post-reading discussions, and modeling a love for reading.

Make Time to Read Together

Setting aside time to read with children is a fundamental step in cultivating their interest in books. Creating a routine for shared reading, such as a bedtime story or a weekend morning book session, establishes consistency. Prioritizing this activity amidst a busy schedule demonstrates the value of reading. This practice not only helps develop a child’s reading skills, but also strengthens the parent-child bond.

Ensure a Diverse Selection of Books

It is essential to provide children with access to a wide range of books. Diverse reading materials that include various cultures, experiences, and perspectives encourage inclusivity and curiosity. By introducing children to different types of literature, parents expand their child’s horizons and foster a more comprehensive understanding of the world.

Create a Cozy Reading Space

A dedicated reading area in the home can significantly enhance a child’s reading experience. Designing a comfortable, well-lit reading nook invites children to spend more time with books. Such spaces can be simple yet appealing, providing a serene environment that encourages reading, and you may even be able to add to the value of your home. Be sure to keep receipts and invoices to quantify any major changes you make to the space.

Regular Library Visits

Routine visits to the library is an enriching experience for children. These trips offer opportunities to explore new books and genres, and thus foster a sense of excitement about reading. Making library visits an enjoyable and educational family activity encourages children to view reading as a delightful pursuit. Not only that, but libraries offer much more than books; there are often family events and fun activities for kids of all ages.

Balance Screen Time

In the digital age, managing screen time is crucial. Setting boundaries for the use of electronic devices can create more space for reading activities. Encourage a balanced approach that includes both technology and books, allowing children to enjoy the best of both worlds. Setting these limits can challenge both parents and kids, so try reducing screen time incrementally at first so your child can get used to the change.

Post-Reading Discussions

Engaging children in discussions about the books they read is a powerful tool in deepening their understanding and appreciation of literature. Ask questions about the story, characters, and themes to promote critical thinking and comprehension. These conversations can also provide insights into the child’s thoughts and feelings, which further encourages their interest in reading.

Model a Love for Reading

Modeling a love for reading exerts a powerful influence on children’s reading habits. When children observe their parents engaged in reading, they are more likely to mirror this behavior and develop an interest in books themselves. Parents who visibly enjoy reading send a strong message that reading is a worthwhile and enjoyable activity. It’s important for parents to consciously set aside time for their own reading, whether to dive into a novel or explore a magazine. This practice not only reinforces the value of reading in the household, but also encourages children to embrace reading as a regular part of their lives.

Cultivating a child’s love for reading is a multifaceted endeavor that requires dedication and creativity. The strategies outlined in this article, from shared reading times and diverse book selections to creating reading-friendly spaces and balancing digital engagement, all contribute to developing a child’s reading habits. By implementing these practices, parents and caregivers play a pivotal role in nurturing young readers, ultimately enriching their lives with the joys and benefits of reading.

Thanks to Leslie Campo of for providing this guest post.


Sanctuary Motel

Sanctuary MotelAlan Orloff‘s Sanctuary Motel is an entertaining look at one guy’s honest, but somewhat bumbling attempt to help the down-and-out. Benjamin “Mess” Hopkins’ parents own the Fairfax Manor Inn, situated just north of Fairfax, VA. According to Mess, the inn is one of four “independent, rinky-dink motels within four miles” of each other on a stretch of Route 50. This mystery provides a chuckle as the reader gets pulled into the world of Mess and Vell.

In his early 30s, Mess Hopkins has lived most of his life at the Fairfax Motor Inn. When his parents abruptly get wanderlust, it’s up to Mess to manage the inn. Truth is, a good number of guests are the non-paying type—Mess has a kind heart and helps those less fortunate souls sent his way by Mama, mother of D’Marvellus “Vell” Jackson, both of whom are friends with Mess. Good thing for Cesar Ruiz, the operating manager of the Fairfax Manor Inn. Originally hired by Mess’s parents, he keeps the motel clean and decently maintained, among other things. All this despite Mess’s kind-hearted philanthropic gestures to the down-and-out.

After a brief introduction of the main characters, the book concentrates on Nicole and her son, Nick. Vell brings Nicole and Nick to the motel. But why does Nicole stay only a night or two at the Fairfax Motor Inn, then disappear? Why would she leave Nick behind and apparently not keep in contact with him? In fact, what brought about Nicole’s stark current circumstances? So, Mess and Vell hunt for Nicole.

I enjoyed Sanctuary Motel, for the most part. And I like the cover art. Mess and Vell are well drawn, as is Cesar, to a good degree. However, Nicole is almost a non-existent character. She plays a part in the setup of the story line, but fades out behind her son, Nick, and abusive husband, Todd Payton. More than a cozy mystery, but less than a thriller, Sanctuary Motel could have used slightly more punch. The final scene pitting Mess and Lia Katsaros, a journalist interested in the case, against her boss, Will “Shotgun” Stokes, was a letdown.

To purchase a copy, click here. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Sanctuary Motel
by Alan Orloff
© 2023
Level Best Books

As Long As I Breathe

As Long as I Have BreatheAs Long as I Breathe, by Garrett James, is a romance with thriller and mystery aspects. Stephanie Morgan and her daughter, Lilianne Rose (Lily), live as quiet a life as they can. Stephanie (Steph) works nights at a nursing home and at the local bar on weekends. Life was tough since her fiancé had died. Or was it murder? And why was Cole Miller, the sheriff’s brother, so bent on having Steph as his girlfriend?

Mason Cain, ex-military, ex-convict, moves back into his mother’s house after she dies. He’d planned to clear things up and quickly move on. But the best laid plans…Mason witnesses Cole dealing violently with Steph, who lives across the street. Inevitably, Mason becomes friends with Lily, then with Steph. Cole becomes even more erratic and irrational as he witnesses the growing feelings between Mason and Steph. How far will Cole go to keep Mason away from Steph, who Cole views as his property? How far will Mason go to protect “his girls”?

Mystery has always surrounded the death of Steph’s fiancé. Everyone has a good word to say about Matt Peterson, who seemed to have had no enemies. So, why is Agent Nick Canon, from the Division of Criminal Investigation, hanging around pursuing an inquiry into Matt’s death?

Mystery, resolution, anger, love, tenderness, psychological problems, all fall within the realm of As Long as I Breathe. Garrett James does well in uncovering emotions in his characters and develops them into living beings. Love and tenderness can turn around the lives of some characters, like Mason. But others, like Cole, have nowhere to go but into a burning hell of their own making.

I enjoyed As Long as I Breathe for the character and plot development. I felt connected to Mason, Steph, Lily, and even Nick Canon. Be prepared for well-done, but explicit, sex scenes. My only “thumbs down” was that this book could have used a good proofreading to fix some grammatical issues. Otherwise, bravo.

This appears to be the first in a series. I look forward to reading about the future lives of Mason, Steph, Lily, and Nick Canon.

To purchase a copy, click here. I get a small commission for any purchases made.

As Long as I Breathe
by Garrett James

The Leipfold Files

The Leipfold FilesThird in the Leipfold Mysteries series, The Leipfold Files, by Dane Cobain, is a series of discreet, but connected, short stories. These stories mostly cover James Leipfold’s life prior to what’s recorded in Driven and The Tower Hill Terror (both of which I reviewed previously). However, a few stories cover cases occurring between those enacted in the prior books.

In these stories we learn how 14-year-old James Leipfold first meets novice policeman, Jack Cholmondeley. The reader learns why Leipfold no longer drinks and how he edged his way into becoming a private investigator. Leipfold’s assistant, Maile O’Hara, figures in the later stories in this collection. These stories occur in the time frame between the previous books. She gets no introduction here, under the assumption that the reader has read the previous tomes.

Some scenes covered in these stories have been referenced in previous books, such as the breaking and entering incident at the building housing Leipfold’s office. However, a bit more is added so that these instances are fleshed out. All in all, these stories round out James Leipold as a bit of an eccentric with a formidable memory. His ability to resolve problems makes his transition from jailbird to private investigator an almost foregone conclusion. Maile adds to the storyline with her in-depth knowledge of most computer-related things.

I enjoy the teetotalling, ginger-haired PI. So, I finished The Leipfold Files in two days. Hopefully, we’ll see more of Leipfold and Maile, his tech-savvy assistant, in future outings.

If you’d like a copy of The Leipfold files, click here. I receive a small commission when an item is purchased.

The Leipfold Files
by Dane Cobain
Encircle Publications

Trouble on Treasure Island

Trouble on Treasure Island: A Beach House MysteryAn easy-going romance-mystery, Trouble on Treasure Island: A Beach House Mystery is a lighthearted read with an undercurrent of sinister. Seth Sjostrom establishes the right tone for a mystery-romance set at a beach house on the Gulf Coast of Florida.

Kate Harper, a well-to-do realtor, works for a real estate management company specializing in high-end rentals, mostly on beaches throughout the United States. As she inspects a house on Treasure Island near St. Petersburg, FL, her foot goes through a rotten board on one of the decks facing the ocean. A surfer using the beach access easement next to the property, comes to her aid. Turns out, he’s a handyman. So, Kate hires him. Nick Mason, the surfer-handyman, becomes friendly with Kate as she finds more jobs for him to do.

One night, Kate witnesses some unusual activity on the beach—two shadowy figures, one chasing the other—she hears a scream before the figures disappear along the shoreline. Kate exits the house to give chase but finds nothing but an engagement ring along the path the figures had taken. What follows is the discovery of Joann Marrs murdered further along the beach. The police investigation, with much input from Kate and a reluctant Nick, consumes the rest of the novel.

Lighthearted Romance-Mystery

I enjoyed this lighthearted read. Sharp-eyed and perceptive describe Kate. She easily interprets what she sees and hears concerning the murder and the police investigation. She puts herself out there to move the investigation along. Nick, it turns out, is a non-practicing lawyer as well as surfer and handyman. He is no slouch as a handyman, who can put together an intricate alarm system in the beach house for Kate. He’s a gentleman, who also knows the best local places to have great food. But he could be more well-rounded, not just a love interest for Kate.

And that’s another thing—to a large extent, Kate seems a little oblivious to the effect she’s having on Nick. Kate is also unaware of the effect she has on Detective Connolly, the policeman in charge of Joann Marrs’ murder investigation. All in all, more could be made of this emergent love triangle than what happens throughout the book. That might be a missed opportunity to ramp up the novel’s tension in a different direction.

Another potential shortcoming is that it takes about one-third of the book before it begins to ramp up. The beginning encompasses a lot of stealthy, creeping intruders who slink around Kate’s beach house, but don’t do much to move the plot along. Nor do they create the brooding atmosphere for which Sjostrom strove.

Sjostrom does do a great job of characterizing Frank Driscoll. Driscoll, a private investigator hired by someone in Charleston with an interest in the murder of Joann Marrs. Assigned to keep an eye on Kate, Driscoll uses various not very effective disguises to do so. He adds a delightful air to the mystery.

All things considered, Trouble on Treasure Island: A Beach House Mystery is a great romp on the gulf coast. The scenery, the restaurants, the marinas and the house at the center of this mystery all delight the reader as do the main characters: Kate Harper, Nick Mason and Detective Connolly.

If you want to purchase a copy of this book, click here. I receive a small commission if this product is purchased.

I received a copy of Trouble on Treasure Island: A Beach House Mystery and gave a fair review.

Trouble on Treasure Island: A Beach House Mystery
by Seth Sjostrom
© 2023
wolfprintMedia, LLC

Sherlock Holmes Audiobook

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

As you all know, I’m a diehard Sherlock Holmes fan. Whether the original canon or modern versions, I love the gas lights and foggy London streets of Victorian and Edwardian London. So, I’ve just come across an audiobook version of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Simon Prebble narrates this audiobook–one of my favorite voice artists. Mr. Prebble narrated quite a few audiobooks that I’ve enjoyed over the years.

The stories in this audiobook take the reader back to London and the timeless duo of Holmes and Watson as envisioned by Doyle, the author of the illustrious and long-lived detective duo. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes presents such well-known stories such as “A Scandal in Bohemia” in which Holmes is bested by Irene Adler. “The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle” in which a rather dilapidated bowler hat and a fat goose figure rather prominently. In “The Adventure of the Copper Beeches” Holmes’ client crops her luxuriant auburn hair short as part of her new job as a governess. Why? These stories and more entice the reader onwards on the heels of Holmes and Watson.

You can pick up The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Download as a digital download.

I receive a small commission for any purchases made via the above link.


The Further Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes

The Further Adventures of Sherlock HolmesCaiden Cooper Myles strikes the absolutely correct tone in The Further Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. Miles’s prose rolls smoothly along—highlighting gas-lit, foggy London streets as well as the firelight in the sitting room of that famous duo—Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson. The reader can see the yellow, swirling fog with gas lamps glowing dimly without casting much light.

In “The Adventure of the Sinister Correspondent,” coded messages under stamps reminds me of “The Adventure of the Dancing Men” in that secret coded messages portend problems for the recipient. “The Problem of Hazelwood Grange” reminds me of The Hound of the Baskervilles in that Holmes sends Watson in his place to help gather clues, view the scene of the crime, and report back to Holmes. Watson purports himself well in this story. He is a well-drawn character in this story, as well as the rest of the tales. “The Adventure of the Drury Lane Pawnbroker” brings to mind “The Red-Headed League” because it deals with pawnbrokers and the misappropriation or mishandling of money. “The Adventure of the Naval Architect” recalls “The Adventure of the Naval Treaty.” Both involve stolen military secrets.

The author of these further adventures strikes the right note with both Holmes and Watson’s characterization. Watson always has an eye for women, as, in “The Adventure of the Braden Park Bench,” Watson notes, “She had dark hair, bright blue eyes, and an air of confidence beyond her years. I was immediately struck by her beauty.” On the other hand, Holmes stands as a more intellectual plateau in the same story about Braden Park. For example, “Mid-morning the following day, Holmes and I found ourselves in Amberley. It was a charming village which appealed to me but it did not appeal to my friend whose love of Mother Nature was largely limited to her poisons.”

Illustrations in this anthology are not the best. The frontispiece illustration before “The Adventure of the Sinister Correspondent” has Holmes in a too-small puffy chair . A puffy, gummy bear chair that looks like it will swallow him.

Caiden Cooper Myles demonstrates a knowledge of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Holmes canon. I mentioned a few similarities between Myles’ stories anthologized in The Further Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes and Doyle’s stories. Similarities may exist for the other stories as well. But significant time has elapsed since I’ve read the original Holmes canon for me to be forgetful. These similarities in no way detract from Myles’ stories themselves or of my enjoyment of them. In fact, the faint similarities enhanced my appreciation of Myles’ writing style. Myles takes his version of Holmes and Watson in a new direction, including some modernizations such as Holmes’ use of a telephone. Myles’ stories are in no way derivative. They stand alone, a well-done addition to the contemporary Holmes canon.

I received a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Click if you wish to purchase The Further Memoirs of Sherlock HolmesI receive a small commission if a purchase is made.

Two Lists

In Two Lists, Malcom “Mal” Winters and his close friend, V. N. “Vinn” Atchison, confront a series of bizarre murders. Staged crime scenes laugh at them, daring them to connect the dots. And solve the crimes before someone else is murdered. Oddly, the murders seem to follow two lists created in the psychology field about those who would be most, and least, likely to commit murder. With each murder, props meticulously set the stage that indicate two different careers. And all the suspects congregate at Puzzlers Anonymous. What is it with that, anyway?

Mal and Vinn move as fast as they can with the help of Rebecca and Leo, Mal’s tenants. But not fast enough. Among the victims – their young friend, Maggie, the journalism student.

Mal and Vinn’s mounting frustration is sharply depicted in this latest from Thomas J. Thorson. When Mal and Vinn must take justice into their own hands, how will they react? Will they kill again, like in their previous lives? Even for justice? As Mal says, “it’s a slippery slope…Over time, your become immune to the emotional effect of holding a knife to someone’s throat or putting a gun to her head, and it becomes easier each time to follow through. At some point you actually begin to relish the rush…”

Also, see my reviews of Thorson’s previous Mal Winters books: Bad Fortune, The Cosmic Killings, The Connubial Corpse, and Heirs Apparent.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Get a copy of Two Lists by Thomas Thorson.

(I receive a small commission if you purchase the book using the above link.)

Two Lists
by Thomas J. Thorson
© 2023
Thorshammer Books


BookmarksIf you’re anything like me, you have more than one book going at any one time. I usually have at least two, sometimes three or four. I’ve found bookmarks in books that I was so sure I needed to buy and read instantly. Only to come across them lying forlornly in my to-be-read pile.

So, what does that mean for us bookaholics? We are generally short of bookmarks.

Rather than use any old thing, like slips of raggedy paper or bits of used napkins, I have invested in a few corner bookmarks from TheBookmarkNovelist at her Etsy shop. (Or visit her at her website.)

These little pieces of brightly patterned paper have become my go-to type of bookmark. They hug the corner of the page without slipping off—or worse yet, out of the book totally as some “regular” bookmarks have the habit of doing.

For me, my collection of bookmarks almost—not quite but almost—equals my collection of books that I have yet to read. But there can never be too much of a good thing, whether it’s books or classy markers to keep our place elegantly

What do you use as bookmarks? Leave me a comment, if you wish, about how you deal with marking your place.



Thomas J. Thorson

Thomas J. ThorsonFrom time to time, I will post interviews with authors whose books I’ve reviewed on this blog. So, first up is Thomas J. Thorson, author of the Malcom Winters mystery series.

I never reviewed Thomas J. Thorson’s first book, Serendipity. But thus far, I’ve reviewed the books in Thorson’s Malcom Winters mystery series: Heirs Apparent, The Connubial Corpse, The Cosmic Killings, and Bad Fortune. In the coming weeks, I’ll be posting a review of his newest addition to this series, Two Lists.

Did you always want to be a writer?
I’ve always been an avid reader even as a young child. I remember trying to write a war novel when I was in junior high–I got about half a page done, it was terrible, and I gave up. My true desire developed when I was an English major in college and spent a lot of time reading great and not-so-great books.

What got you interested in the main subject of your books?
My mom turned me on to Sherlock Holmes and Nero Wolfe when I was young, and I’d read those stories in the dark with a book light when I should have been sleeping. Since then, I’ve always loved mysteries, so it was my go-to choice when I started to write.

Do you have any manuscripts written prior to your first published book that you feel will never be published?
Full manuscripts, no. But I was never without a notebook and pen nearby and would jot down plot ideas or snippets of a scene or character I thought would be fun. Some of them are really good ideas but they never fit into any of my novels, so they’ll probably languish unwritten.

Have you done any writing other than fiction?
I set out to write a mystery but a conversation with my daughter got me distracted and heading down a different path, so my first book called “Serendipity” is non-fiction and focuses on accidental discoveries and chance events that changed the course of history.

How do you handle publishing your books? And what about marketing?
My first novel was put out through a vanity publisher. I was naïve and thought they’d market my book. After that, I’ve self-published and love the total control over the content. I’ve been fortunate to surround myself with a wonderful editor and a talented and knowledgeable friend who does my design and all of the technical stuff required to get the novels printed. I market mostly through social media but frankly am terrible at it.

Do you like the direction in which your writing career is headed? Why or why not?
I’ve never relied on my books as my primary source of income which has allowed me to proceed at my own pace and under my own terms. I set out to write one book but now have my sixth one due out this month, so I’m happy with that. My fifth novel is the last in a series, so I may jump to a different genre just for the challenge. If I never publish again, I’ll be satisfied with and proud of what I’ve done.

Is there any area in which you feel you need help to succeed?
Marketing, no doubt. People who read my books really like them and I get great reviews, but I need to reach a larger audience.

What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?
I’ve come to love my characters and the universe I created for them, so wrapping it all up had some pretty significant emotional moments.

If you write a series, have the characters in your series become easier to write about?
This sounds pretentious, but my characters early on took on a life of their own and I would hear their voices telling me what to say and what behavior they would manifest in a particular situation. But yes, it became easier as their personalities and character traits became more established. They could still surprise me though.

What previous jobs have you had? Do you still work at something other than writing?
I’m a real estate attorney working full-time. Writing has always been more of a hobby than a career, although one that takes up most of my time away from work.

To purchase any of the books in the Malcom Winters series:
Heirs Apparent
The Connubial Corpse
The Cosmic Killings
Bad Fortune

I will receive a small commission if a purchase is made through these links.