Encouraging your child to pick up a book and can seem like a daunting task. Even if you facilitated a healthy relationship with reading from when they were a baby, as they get older, many parents find their children’s love of reading can wane somewhat and getting them to pick up a book becomes more of a battle than a fun way to while away a few hours.
So how can you foster a love of reading in your child without it turning into a bone of contention between you?
It goes without saying that reading with your children from a young age will help you build a positive relationship with reading and books. From reading books to them until they can read by themselves, check out the reading benchmarks by age if you are concerned about your child reading skills.
Keep stories fun and simple and take their lead. If they only want to keep still for a few pages, then don’t force them to continue for the whole book, this in itself will promote a negative experience with books. Try to involve them with the story by asking simple questions or getting them to make funny noises as you read with them. Or even let them be able to read the story to you and encourage them to look at the pictures and tell their own story of what is happening or they think is happening.
Let Them Choose Their Own Reading Material
Even comic books count as reading. Following the storyline in comic books may not initially look like they are reading; however, there are always words on the page and a storyline to follow so this counts. Forcing them to read books they have no interest in will only backfire. So if you really want your child to fall in love with reading, let them do it on their own terms.
If listening to music is their thing, then let them try listening to an audiobook! Some children process information differently, and reading words of a page won’t be something they can follow easily. Swapping words for sounds could be the key to expanding their knowledge and still listen to stories just via a different format.
So many books have been made into movies. You only have to look at the uber-successful Harry Potter books to see how popular stories can be. Invoking their imagination by letting them watch movie or series adaptations can spark that interest in books and lead them to pick up the book that inspired the film and voila! You have helped guide them to a love of reading without any fuss or drama.
Make it a Family Activity.
Set aside some time over the weekend to dedicate to reading. Allow each family member to choose their favorite or requested reading material of choice and then spend an hour reading together. Either in silence or discuss once your time is up with what you have all just read and your thoughts on it. Please encourage them to talk about what they are reading and ask questions that will pique their interest and want them to discover more.
Facts not Fiction
Not all children let their imagination run wild. While this is something you should always encourage when it comes to developing their imagination and creativity, not every child thinks this way or has their imagination captured by stories and tall tales.
If your child is into fact, then choose books such as the Guinness World Record books, or factual topics on subjects they are interested in. Once you let them guide the way they consume the information, they will then follow their own path and read at will as and when they want to know that what they do choose to read is entirely up to them.
Learn A New Skill
Another way to creatively encourage your child to read is to start a new hobby with them. Take cooking for example; reading the recipe and making ingredients lists from cookery books or reading recipes online will indeed get them reading without them feeling like they are. They will still be learning new information and at the same time, learning a new practical skill. A double whammy if you will!
It is important to remember to let your child guide you when it comes to reading. Taking the lead and trying to get them to read books you loved, or you think they should be ready will only serve to push them away from reading and potentially end up with them not wanting to read anything at all.
What other creative ways do you encourage your child to read? Let me know in the comments below!