How can I get my kid to love reading? Why do some kids read more than others?
Most parents want their child to love reading, but in a world of technology sometimes that’s easier said than done.
Here are six tips to help your child love reading.
1. Learn their Style
Captain Obvious tells us that children are not robots. They have their own likes and dislikes.
They are their own little person.
We have to learn their reading style. We can guide their book choices to some extent, but if you want them to love reading you will have to find a compromise between what you want them to read and what they enjoy reading about.
They like Fruit-Loops and chicken nuggets, hate peas and want to watch the same episode of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood 1000+ times while wearing the same pair of star-studded tights for six days in a row (hopefully they got washed some time while they were sleeping).
We might wish they liked National Geographic Kids more…but they like Big Hero 6…ad naseum. To some extent we let them decide, but if they want to wear flip flops in the dead of winter and watch Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, obviously we tell them, “So sorry, bud…but, um, no.”
It’s the same thing with books.
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2. Read to Them (Even When They’re big)
Children (even big ones) like to be read to. It not only helps their comprehension of a story, but also can lead to some interesting talking points.
Some scenarios (hopefully) will never present themselves in our child’s real life, but the situations a fictional/biographical character finds themself in can lead to theoretical discussions about what your child would do in a similar setting.
Reading to your children, whether big or small, will also allow you to bond over a story, much like watching a movie together…but with the added benefit of bonding with each other’s voices.
Studies show that the very sound of a mother’s voice has a powerful impact on our children:
A mother’s voice has the power to settle jangled nerves and maybe even reach through the fog of a coma to bring a brain-injured patient back to consciousness, according to a pair of new experiments. (Source: NBC News)
3. Invest in Audio Books
Whether it’s hours spent in the car for vacation or just the daily running back and forth between school and soccer practice, Americans spent a LOT of time in their vehicles.
Investing in audio books can increase your child’s love of reading.
Many children don’t “get” why reading is so enjoyable, because oftentimes children struggling with the discipline to follow though to the big payoff – audio books can solve this problem.
Audio books are especially helpful when trying to curb handheld device usage in the car. Children that are engaged in an interesting story are less likely to complain about their missing electronic if they are otherwise preoccupied!
You don’t have to buy audio books, there are amazing resources at your local library, online or you can get an Amazon Kindle Unlimited 30-Day Free Trial.
4. Let Them See You Reading
More is caught than taught.
This is a phrase that I often hear from one of my favorite preachers meaning that children are more likely to mimic what you DO rather than what you SAY.
Even if you never see your child reading today…chances are they will eventually pick up the habit if they see you doing it.
5. Talk Up Reading, But Admit Real Struggles
Try to always talk about reading in a positive light.
In the same regard, try to identify some common feelings that might hinder reading like:
- too small text
- too many words on a page
- not enough pictures
- boring story lines
- the pressure of reading quickly as others
By identifying the real struggles a young reader is facing, you can eliminate some fear or hatred of reading.
6. Supply LOADS of Books
Giving your children access to lots of books is vital to their love of reading.
You can either buy books, rent them from the library, or borrow them from friends.
But if you are like me, the library fines (or replacement fees) can start to add up, so I opt for cheap books from local thrift stores, garage sales or library sales.
Whether or not you buy or rent books, surrounding your children with the opportunity to look through a variety of books allows the mind to venture into the wild world of reading.
Going to the bookstore just to browse or the library even if you aren’t borrowing, can be a great field trip for a discovering a love of reading.