If you’ve found your way to this article, it’s probably because your child isn’t as enthused about reading as you’d hope – or they flat out refuse to read.
If so, the first thing we must say is not to worry. Not every child falls in loves with books and reading, and some will need a little more coaxing and persuasion than others to read for pleasure and enjoyable rather than out of necessity.
If you’d like to encourage your child to read and get them excited about reading, it’s often difficult to know where to begin. I’m sure numerous questions are rattling around inside your head, such as: When should I start? What should I do? How often should I do it? Will it work? These are completely natural and go through every parent’s head, so don’t fret! To give you a helping hand, we’ve compiled a list of the top ten things you can do to get your child excited about reading.
10 Strategies To Get Your Child Excited About Reading
#1 – Make a Distinction Between School Reading and Home Reading
While it is essential to support your child’s teachers and their teaching practices, it is crucial not to turn your home environment into a second classroom. Remember, teachers want parents to do things that schools can’t or don’t do, such as lots of one-on-one time and creating learning based on a child’s individual interests and preferences.
#2 – Expand Your Book Knowledge
Children who aren’t excited to read are typically exposed to fewer books than those children who are excited by books. Therefore, it’s imperative for you to expand your knowledge of books in order to share this knowledge with your child. The more books and types of books you’re aware of, the greater the chance of finding reading material that will excite your child and make them want to read.
#3 -‘Relaxing’ and ‘Enjoyable’ Should Be Your Watchwords
Let’s face it; absolutely no-one looks forward to anything that is boring, difficult, and stressful; therefore, you have to make reading relaxing, enjoyable and as easy as you can. If you do so, both your child and you will enjoy the experience of reading and exploring books, meaning its’ more likely to happen again – and probably on a much more frequent basis.
#4 – Let the read Anything The Want (within reason, of course!)
The key to improving reading ability (and everything else for that matter) practises and motivation. Allow your child to read the things they want to read, rather than being overly concerned about the level of the reading material. Is there something in your newspaper or magazine that might interest them? If so, cut it out and give it to them. Children are always more likely to engage with things that they are interested in, so give your child (almost) free rein to choose their own reading material. This will make it far more exciting for them!
#5 – Read Aloud To Them
I’m sure we’re all aware of just how essential reading aloud to children is, but it isn’t just about acquainting them with the English language – it goes a little deeper than that. To improve reading ability, a child must have (some degree of) confidence in what he or she is doing. If they are completely devoid of confidence, they’ll flat out refuse to it; therefore, boosting confidence is key. By reading a new text aloud to them, it will make them familiar with the book and being familiar with something automatically increase confidence.
#6 – Draw Pictures
When reading a book, encourage your child to draw pictures of the characters and what is happening in the story or what they’ve read (if it’s non-fiction). Not only will this help your child to use their imagination both when reading and drawing, but it will also help them associate reading with fun activities such as drawing, painting, and creating art. Encourage them to write down words to describe their pictures or even how the book makes them feel.
#7 – Turn a Blind Eye To Mistakes
Be careful not to point out absolutely every mistake your child makes when reading; they will often be aware that something doesn’t sound right or make sense and will go back and correct themselves. If the error doesn’t impact their understanding and enjoyment, leave it; it’s better to not interrupt their flow and enjoyment for the sake of telling them each individual mistake as they’re reading. You can always go through their mistakes once they have finished reading.
#8 – Discuss
When reading books with your child, stop them every so often without interrupting their flow, i.e. at the end of a paragraph or chapter, and ask them questions about the story and characters, or the information if it’s a factual book. Ensure that the questions you ask require more than a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer. Examples of such questions are as follows: ‘Have you read any similar stories like this before?’, ‘Has way is happening in the story ever happened to you?’, ‘What do you think will happen next in the story?’, ‘Have you ever met anyone who is like any of the characters in this book?’ etc. Encourage them to talk in as much detail as possible. Breaking reading up with discussion is a great way to take a break and stave off boredom or potential frustration.
#9 – Tell Them About Your Reading
Children often associate reading with learning and school and therefore have a negative view of it for those reasons. However, if you talk to your child about how useful reading is, how you use it in everyday life, how beneficial it is, and, probably most importantly, how much pleasure you get from reading. Children often view their parents as role models; therefore, showing your child how much you love reading (even if you don’t) will undoubtedly help them to become more excited about it.
#10 – Create Their Own Library
By building your child’s very own library by giving them books as presents for their birthday and Christmas, you show them just how valuable reading is to you. Gifts are special, and if a child receives a book, they will often view it as something to treasure. Although it’s worthwhile using school or library books to increase your child’s excitement for reading, having their very own books will make the books extra special.
How To Get Your Child Excited About Reading: A Summary
Getting your child exciting about books and reading isn’t the mammoth task some envisage it to be, but taking that first step and breaking down the initial barrier can be a little troublesome. It’s completely normal to experience some resistance to start. Still, once you introduce the above actives and games into your child’s reading development, it should gradually become less of a battle as time goes by!