Encouraging children to read can be a difficult thing to do for any parent. This has always been a challenge that parents have faced, but this seems to be more difficult in recent years, with constant distractions like smartphones and social media.
Reading is, however, a skill that everyone needs to get by in day to day life. It is important for education, and communication, even more so in this digital world we live in where more communication now is via a digital platform, such as email or text message.
Reading is therefore a necessary skill, but also reading as a hobby is also a hugely underrated pastime in the modern world. Reading for pleasure sparks imagination, and encourages children to create a rich world in their mind that a book helps create for them.
So, how can you encourage a child to read who is not inspired?
Hopefully, some tips in this article will help.
Don’t Make Reading A Chore
Reading should be a fun activity for you and your child. Once you make it something that they have to do, for example saying they have to read one chapter a day, then it becomes boring and resented.
You should start reading with your child from when they are young, in fact, even as a newborn you can read to them, to help you get in the habit of reading to them, and they will find your voice soothing.
It’s also important to let your child decide what they want to read, there is little point in forcing them to read a genre of book that is your favorite, or that you think is suitable if they really don’t want to read it. If they find the subject matter interesting, they are more likely to keep reading.
Make reading a fun activity, incorporate into your day so it’s time you and your child or children get to spend together and make it an enjoyable experience. You could make up voices for the characters or act out certain scenes together.
Set A Good Example
If you are encouraging your child to read more, then it will help them if they see you reading.
Children idolize their parents and want to copy what they do. Setting a good example can really help, if they see you reading a book or an e-reader, they will be inspired to do the same.
This will also teach them how to think about the book that they are reading, and how to discuss it with others, which is also a fantastic skill to learn.
Even if you’re not reading the same book, you can still have a discussion about what your child is reading, at any age, and encouraging them to talk about their favorite parts, even from a very young age, and this will help them to enjoy the book more, seeing that you are interested as well.
There are lots of online communities available for you to access, such as The Mama Zone, where you can swap ideas with other parents on how to encourage reading in your child.
Have Lots Of Books At Home
When a child is at home, and bored, they may look around the house for something to do. If you have lots of books, magazines around the house, then they will be encouraged to pick up one to read.
Ensure there is a lot of variety, so have things that are at their reading level, and also have some non-fiction, and reference books available to read.
Of course, keep anything you think is inappropriate away from where they can get it, but otherwise, if there is reading material available, then they will be more likely to pick something up and read it.
Use An E-Reader
Today’s world relies on technology more than any other time in history, and our children are growing up not knowing any differently.
So, although you may be more familiar with the traditional paper books, it may be easier for your child to connect with technology, and therefore, an e-reader. It doesn’t make a huge amount of difference how your child is reading, the point is to connect with them so they want to read, and an e-reader can help with this.
E-readers can also be changed to suit your child, so the text can be made larger or smaller for example, if they need that.
If your child has a smartphone, and most children do these days, then they can also read on these. There are reading apps you can download for them. Don’t forget that you can control what your child is viewing and downloading on a smartphone, so you don’t have to worry they are accessing things that you would consider inappropriate.
Read To Them Before Bedtime
Bedtime stories have been a tradition for hundreds of years, and with good reason.
Reading to your child before bed gives both you and them some quality time together. In this busy world we live in, it can be hard to give your full attention to someone, and so this bedtime storytime can be incredibly valuable.
Reading before bedtime will also help your child to associate reading with relaxation, and encourage reading at other times.
They will value this quality time together, even if they don’t realize it at the time, and it may be a habit they pass down to their children too.
If you read them a book they really enjoy and read one chapter per night, then they will start
looking forward to the book every night, which helps to foster a love of reading.
These are just a few tips to help encourage reading in your child. The most important thing to remember, is if they really do not like reading, or become frustrated, don’t force it, and see if you can work out the reasons they are finding it difficult, and if necessary, talk to a teacher about your concerns.
Nicole Barron says
This was such a great article, Shannon! Perfect timing for me with Owen beginning Kinder.