When it comes to reading, the advice to parents is to encourage a love of books from an early age. Reading to babies and toddlers is a fun stage of parenting and helping your child to read is extreme-ly rewarding. For some children, reading can become a chore and they may develop a reluctance to read. If you are worried about the amount of reading your child does, here are 10 top tips to en-courage your child to read
Make sure there are lots of books around the house
Don’t hide your books away, but instead make sure you have a good selection of books on show in several rooms. You will want your kids books to be left in a place where they can easily access them and they can pick them up throughout the day.
Encourage Reading for Pleasure
Many parents will notice that their children shy away from reading books as they reach the later stages of elementary school or middle school. With so much focus on reading and literacy in school, kids can see reading as a chore and will be reluctant to do extra reading at home. If your child does not have reading homework, you can encourage children to pick up a book and read for fun, without looking over their shoulder and correcting their skills. Just go with the flow and if they only read a page or two, that’s fine.
Lead by Example
As parents, you are the best role models your kids will ever have. Make sure you let kids see you reading, whether it be books, magazines or newspapers. Parents don’t have to read, so if children see you reading for pleasure, they may just pick up your passion for books.
Your child may be too old for traditional bedtime stories, but that does not mean you have to stop reading aloud. As an adult, I still enjoy being read to and I am sure your children will too. Invest in a good family friendly anthology and take turns to read aloud a story to one another. You can make it fun by picking a theme, such as campfire stories in the yard or haunted night time tales. You will enjoy it as much as the kids, I promise.
Trips to the Library
If your kids are only used to choosing books from the school library, they probably won’t see it as a fun activity. If you make time for a family outing to the library together, where you can all go and choose books, you can turn the library into a fun place to be. Try setting a challenge ahead of your visit, by giving each family member a theme of a book that they must find, i.e Tom must find a book featuring lions.
Let Children Choose Their Own Books
You may not want your child to be reading books about monsters or witches, but if that is what they are interested in, let them be. By encouraging children to pursue their interests by reading about them, they are much more likely to pick up a book than when you try to force them to read books that you loved as a child.
Ease the Pressure
Do not let your child know that you are feeling stressed that they are not reading enough, they will be sure to pick up on it and it may discourage them further. If they do not feel like reading every now and again, that is ok, it only becomes a problem when a few days turn into a few weeks.
In my opinion, you cannot beat picking up a book and enjoying the touch and smell of the pages as you turn them. Children, on the other hand, are forever embracing new technology and they may prefer to read from an e-reader or a tablet. As long as you stay within the safety guidelines for technology use, allow your children to explore different platforms for reading, to see what they pre-fer.
Bring Stories to Life
Another tip for making reading fun, is to bring the stories alive by incorporating an activity at the end of the story/book. You can engage children by using puppets or sound effects and afterwards you can think of a craft activity that leads on from the books. For example, you can make a fairy gar-den in your yard, following on from a book about fairies or draw up a treasure map after reading a book about pirates.
Reading guides can be great to enable schools and parents to choose the correct books for chil-dren, but do not be afraid to step outside of the guidelines. If a book is not challenging enough for your child, they will become bored and will not want to read. Your child may be ready to move up to the next reading level before you expect them too, which should be encouraged.
Above all, you should keep communication as open and honest as possible, when it comes to un-derstanding why your child is reluctant to read. If your child feels comfortable talking to you about his or her education, they will tell you exactly what their issues are. You may find that it is some-thing as simple as they cannot get comfortable whilst reading or it could lead to bigger issues, that you can talk about as a family.
Do you have any other tips for reluctant readers? We would love to hear from you, in the com-ments below.
Want award-winning book recommendations? Check out our post Boost Your Child’s Self-Esteem: Books That Inspire.