There is a wealth of knowledge in the world, waiting to be absorbed and there are many other benefits of reading as well. It helps develop comprehension and improves vocabulary among other things. However, some children are just averse to reading and this continues until they grow up. For parents and teachers, encouraging a child to read comes as a challenge when they aren’t so much interested in it. Starting reading practice early on can help inculcate the habit. Here are a few ways to encourage your child to read:
The earlier you start engaging your child to read, the more you are exposing them to it, which is likely to develop reading habits in them, as they grow up. Language development starts at an early age, right from when they are a baby. Reading your child rhymes at bedtime or singing them a song are good ways to develop their language and understanding. Once your child is old enough and has developed some understanding, you can switch to reading them children’s books.
Make It Fun
Remember that reading with your child should be fun. In no way, should it come across as boring or a form of punishment. Buy interesting books that are relevant to your child’s age and engage them. Discuss the story with them or simply allow them to make up their own story. Children are mostly attracted to pictures at a young age, so no matter how much you want them to enjoy a children’s classic, know that there may be some time until they develop a liking for reading text-only books.
Let Them Choose
Make your child feel part of reading so that they feel involved. They should feel like they have a choice and not feel like it’s a chore that they have to perform. The more freedom of choice you let them have, the more they will feel engaged, because you will be letting their interest guide them to their reading choices. Let them choose books they would like to read and encourage them to buy books. Taking your child along when you visit a bookstore is also a good idea, to introduce them to the large variety of books. When your child will choose their own books, they are more likely to read, instead of reading something you choose for them.
Maintain a Good Reading Collection at Home
Give your child access to reading resources right in the home. Develop a reading corner or bookshelf that is stacked with all kinds of relevant, engaging, fun and age appropriate reading material so that your child can just pick a book and read when they feel like it. Also, children are quick to mimic their parents and when they will see you picking a book off the shelf and reading it, at any time of the day, they are likely to copy the action. Don’t forget the power of actions. Children usually do what their parents do. So in order to encourage reading in your child, make sure you are reading as well and have some interesting resources around the house, waiting to be read.
Involve Them in Reading Activities
There are many reading activities that you can engage your child in and it’s worth it. Simply engaging them in an activity book that has instructions to draw or make things, is also a positive step forward in motivating them to read. Children are always learning from their environment, so when you take them out, read to them the road signs, billboards, and tell them the names of things that you pass by on the road. They will learn new words in this way and it will also help develop their habit to read things.
Expand the Scope of Reading
Books constitute a large part of reading but let your child decide that on their own. For now, expand yours and theirs scope of reading and allow them to read anything and everything that they find interesting. Reading can include comics, newspapers, magazines, online children’s reading material, and any other sources. However, remember to keep an eye on your child to make sure they are reading age relevant stuff and not anything meant for adults. Introducing your child to e-readers can also give them a greater choice of exploring reading material, but you might want to limit their time on it.
Start a Book Club
Gather some of your child’s friends to start an engaging and interactive book club. When the habit is shared with friends, your child is more likely to take interest in it. Reading together also gives room to discussion and dialogue, which is another good way to motivate children to read so that they can take part in the discussion. Stories always remain with us and you can use them as way to teach other good habits to your child.
Simply, Talk about Reading
Sometimes the simplest thing you can do is talk to your child. When it comes to encouraging reading, the same rule can apply as well. Sit them down and just talk to them about the books you loved reading when you were a child, and which ones are your favorites. Your child will be better able to relate to reading in this way. Tell those stories and when they sound interested, tell them which book the story is from. There are so many ways you can motivate them to read and it can simply all begin with talking to them.
Don’t forget that your child is your responsibility and to encourage them for reading, you have to make conscious effort every day to develop the habit. Small steps towards reading will eventually lead to progress. So for now, focus on making reading fun and enjoyable, always choose age related books and don’t try to make them read something that they are not interested in reading. Your child’s interest should come first when it comes to selecting the reading material.
© Teresa Boardman, Nanny Options.
Browse other Parenting Guide articles from Nanny Options
or keep up to date with us on Facebook.