No matter how much technologies develop, reading still remains an important part of our lives – only it goes digital often. But though many of us consider reading an interesting hobby or at least an important activity, our children might not share this opinion. For a child, reading can be challenging and unpleasant, especially if a kid is very active and finds it hard to spend a lot of time sitting and looking at a book or on a screen (if it’s e-readers we’re talking about). However, this doesn’t make reading any less important. Building this skill is crucial because it helps not only to prepare your child for the future learning but also to develop their imagination as well as thinking, help them communicate more effectively, and so on.
So if you want to provoke your child’s interest in reading, here are 8 tips that will help you do so
- Take Baby Steps.
One of the most obvious ways to encourage a child to read more is to offer them books on subjects that interest them. One of the most obvious mistake parents make while doing that is to giving their children too many books or picking too complex ones.
While the idea of choosing books that relate to child’s interest is great, you still should keep it slow. For example, your child likes animals. You can take them to the zoo and encourage them to read plates with animals’ descriptions. Then you can give show them a movie about animals or offer them to read a small magazine article. Then you can give them a graphic novel. And then you can offer your child a book.
This way you’ll be able to figure out for yourself whether your child is really interested in the subject. You’ll also be able to build their interest to reading without overwhelming them with a book (that can often seem too big or too complex) right away.
- Lead by Example.
The good news is that our children are eager to learn from us (at least when they are young). However, they might struggle with seeing reading as an interesting activity if you only encourage them to read but rarely read yourself. This simply won’t look very convincing to them. On the contrary, if you make spending an evening with a book your habit, your child will see that you do find books interesting. You can even come up with an idea of reading hours in your family: when all you gather in one room and spend some time together reading your own books.
- Reading Isn’t Only About Books.
In order to encourage your child’s interest in reading, you need to talk about it. After all, reading isn’t only about spending your time caught in a story – it’s about sharing these stories too. For example, you can retell your child a book you find interesting. Or tell them how much a certain book reminds you of certain events. Or encourage them to join the book club (maybe even together – there are parent/child ones) to read books and discuss them with the other people.
- Allow Your Child to Choose for Themselves.
Not all people are consistent readers. Some pick one book and don’t put it down until they finish reading it. Some read a couple of books at a time, picking for reading the one that seems the most appealing at the moment. Some start reading a book but realize they don’t like it (at least for now) – and choose another.
That’s why it’s always better to keep a variety of reading materials at home, so your child could choose. This could be educational books (for example, on how to write a book report), interesting magazines, fiction books, and so on. Just make sure they are at your child’s reading level.
- Go Beyond Books.
Just like I’ve mentioned above, reading is not only about books – and reading materials aren’t books only as well. There are plenty of video games that include a lot of text and tell a story while letting a child play at the same time. There are comic books that tell stories in pictures and words as well. There are board games, where you have to read to understand the rules and to play.
As long as you encourage your child to indulge in such activities, they will read (maybe without even realizing they’re reading).
- Give Your Child an E-Reader.
Using e-readers can help you save some money, as ebooks are usually cheaper than paper ones. But it’s not the main benefit of using e-readers. The best thing about them is that they can be easily tailored to specific needs. For example, you can make the font larger or tailor the number of lines per page.
E-readers are also easy to carry around, so your child will be able to read a book anytime they want (as well as easily pick a book they want to read at the moment.
- Make It Fun.
In the end, it’s all about the emotions you feel in the process. If a reading is enjoyable, it will become a habit easily – and it’s up to you to make it more enjoyable for your kids.
Doing so is easy. You can talk with your child about a book they read, asking them book-related questions. You can also make the reading experience even more enjoyable by creating various activities. For example, if your child is reading Red-Riding Hood at the moment, surprise them by baking a pie or sew a red cape for them (maybe even together).
- Praise Your Child for Reading.
Praising is important even for adults – and praise of their parents can do wonders for children. That’s why it is so important to acknowledge children’s progress and to praise them for their efforts and success. Tell them how proud you are to see them read, how happy you are that they are trying to become good readers. This could affect their progress a lot.
Of course, provoking your child’s interest in reading could be a challenging process. It might not take much time for some parents – and might take a long time for the others. But if you keep trying and follow these tips, you’ll succeed eventually. I wish you good luck and a lot of patience with that!
About the Author:
Richard Nolan is a professional educator and team building coach, sharing his experience in spheres of writing, blogging, entrepreneurship, and psychology. Richard writes for numerous blogs