Whether your child is a reluctant reader, rarely even picking up a book, or easily gets lost between the pages overcome with a love of reading-there are many things you can do to help encourage children to read.
Learning to read for fun at an early age is the start of a lifelong adventure that can take children to worlds they might never imagine.
Motivating kids to read is not always a simple task, so here are some fun ways to help encourage your kids to find fun in reading and to actually someday even enjoy it.
- Leave books scattered around your home and car. I know we like our homes tidy but you’d be amazed how often books get picked up and looked at when they are within reach! This is my all time favorite tip!
- Look at alternative ways to read like the iPad and iPod Touch book apps. The new story book apps have been a miracle in our household. Now, my son will actually choose book apps over game apps because the best book apps have great stories, are interactive and have sound, music and animation.
- Visit a bookstore or discount book sale together with your child. Let them look through the books and pick out books that catch their eye. Don’t worry if they choose a book easier or more difficult than their level. The goal is for them to find a subject that they are interested in and won’t mind reading about. If it is a more challenging book, reading it together can spark a desire for them to read more and you can then find books on the topic on their appropriate level.
- Cook together. Reading comes in many forms: including recipes! Many kids enjoy being in the kitchen and reading recipes and cookbooks can be a fun way to encourage them to read. And, you’ll get some math lessons in as a bonus with all that measuring!
- Have a “DEAR” time as a family. Find a time that the whole family can “Drop Everything And Read.” If everyone in the family is doing it together it can be a lot more fun!
- Read aloud to your children. No matter the age, most children enjoy hearing someone read to them. Even older children can benefit from hearing an adult read the pages of a chapter book to them as they follow along and visualize what they are hearing. No such thing as too much reading aloud!
- Let’s go to the movies! Use books that have been turned into movies as a reward for finishing a book. Today, many quality novels are being turned into movies that are appropriate for children. Have your child read the book and then enjoy a movie night together to see the film based on the book. Be sure to have a great discussion after the movie to compare the book and film. The same can be done with TV shows that are made from books.
- Learn a new skill. Find a skill that your child is interested in learning such as a sport, or a craft like knitting. Find books about that topic and let your child learn the skill by reading about it.
- Bedtime extension! If bedtime in your home is 8:30, allow your child to keep the “lights on” until 9:00 if they would like to read instead of going to sleep at 8:30. Most kids will do anything to extend bedtime!
- Create a “print rich” environment in your home. This is easily accomplished by having lots of things to read available for everyone. Books, magazines, newspapers etc. all provide opportunity for kids to be exposed to a variety of print. The more there is to choose from, the better!
Of course, every tip given above is not going to fit every child. It’s up to you to really observe your child. Figure out how they are wired, and try activities that you think are the best fit for them.
Getting kids to read can be a challenging task, but one that is so important it’s worth all the time and effort you can give.
By, Karen Guinn Robertson
As a children’s author and mother of a dyslexic son, Karen is passionate about finding new ways for kids to have fun reading. Her new series, “Treasure Kai” helps kids learn through adventure and fun using book apps for the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch (http://itunes.apple.com/app/treasure-kai-lost-gold-shark/id418289114?mt=8#) and a website with free educational and fun content, www.treasurekai.com