Instilling a love of reading in children can fuel their imaginations, fill their hearts and expand their knowledge now and throughout their lives. If you want to encourage your child to read more and help them become a lifelong book lover, implement the following tips.
Let them choose
Even if you are desperate to share your favorite childhood books with your kid or have cultivated a list of highly recommended titles that he has to read, it’s best to leave the book choice up to your child at first. Encourage your child to peruse the library book shelves and pick out books that capture their attention or complement their interests. Do they love to play soccer? There are plenty of books, nonfiction and fiction, about the challenging sport. Maybe they’re a maker and how-to books would engage their mind and creativity. Perhaps they just want to be transported on an adventure in a faraway land. There are plenty of classic and modern tales that delve into fantastical worlds of good guys battling evil foes. If your child loves superheroes, there are graphic novels appropriate for a range of ages.
Make it a family affair
Children are more apt to follow your example than listen to your words. An easy way to get your child to read is to read yourself. Let your child see you curling up with a good book, and when you’re ready to turn pages, encourage your child to do the same. If your child isn’t reading on their own yet, read stories out loud to them at bedtime, naptime or any time the mood strikes. Even if your child is an accomplished reader and may think they’re too old for a story, it’s still OK (and highly beneficial) to read together. Take turns, by page or chapter, reading aloud to each other.
Provide positive reinforcement
Celebrate your child’s reading accomplishments, both in your words of praise and with a tangible prize. Work with your child to set up a reading goal. Depending on your child’s age, you could focus on minutes spent reading or number of books finished. After your child has reached the agreed upon goal, congratulate them on a job well done and give them a small prize. It could be a small toy, a sweet treat, a sticker on a reading chart or something less tangible, but equally coveted — an extended bedtime. The best reward for reading, though, is a new book. Make a plan to visit the library or the local bookstore for you and your child to pick up a new read.
Listen and learn
If your kid can’t keep their eyes focused on the page, why not focus on their ears? Chances are you spend a lot of time in the car together. Take advantage of this time on the road by sharing an audiobook. A captivating story told in an engaging way will make the ride more enjoyable and strengthen your child’s listening and reading skills.
Inspire your kid to be an active bookworm with these reading tips.