As parents we know how beneficial it is for our children to develop good life-long reading habits, but how do we get them to enjoy reading? For many children reading is a chore, something they have to do for school, rather than something they want to do for fun. While you can’t force your child to enjoy reading, you can be proactive by providing an environment and resources to support and encourage reading on a regular basis. Here are some ways you can accomplish this:
Let Him See You Reading
Children often learn by watching their parents. Read often and let your child know that you enjoy reading by telling him why you enjoy a certain book or how a story made you feel. If your child sees you being positive about reading then he will start to view reading positively as well.
Schedule Family Reading Time
Many families have a certain time frame for watching T.V. together, and there should be time set aside for reading together as well. Schedule family reading time where everyone sits quietly together and reads. The reading material isn’t important, it can be an article on a tablet, a newspaper, the back of the cereal box – what everyone is reading isn’t important, it is the act of reading something that matters. Ideally at least 20 minutes everyday should be set aside for reading time.
Build Your Child’s Personal Library
Ideally starting from birth, you should begin collecting books for your child’s personal book collection. Having books of his own to read on a regular basis is one of the best ways to encourage reading. Reading to your toddler every day will help make reading regularly a habit for him. Having a wide range of books to choose from helps keep reading interesting. There are monthly subscription services such as Bookroo that deliver new books to your home each month. These can be a great way to begin building your child’s personal library from an early age. You can also start a book swap with friends and family where you swap books as children out grow or grow into them.
Take Your Child to Get a Library Card
Getting his very own library card is an exciting experience for a child. It is a milestone of sorts, one step closer to independence. Once he has his library card, make weekly trips to the library to pick out books. Allow him the freedom to choose what he wants to read (within reason, of course), don’t pick out the books for him.
Encourage Him to Pursue His Passion
If you have noticed that your child has an interest in a certain subject – say dinosaurs, for example, then foster his interest by supplying him with reading material about dinosaurs. Allowing him to pursue something he is passionate about through books is a great way to foster a life-long love of reading.
Have Family Book Discussions
Get the whole family on the reading bandwagon by having weekly discussions about what everyone has read that week. Ask everyone to tell what it was they did and didn’t like about what they read and take note of your child’s likes so you can cater to them through supplied reading material.
Make Books Easily Accessible
Many people have a bookshelf tucked away in a corner of the house where all of the books are kept. Try to keep reading material scattered throughout the house so that something to read is always in easy reach. This can be as simple as keeping a couple of books on the coffee table in the living room, having magazines laid out on a table in the family room, a few books stacked on the bedside table, etc. Remember the old adage out of sight, out of mind: if reading material is always within his sight he is much more likely to reach for it when he is bored.