Helping your children form a positive association with reading doesn’t have to be difficult. As a matter of fact, it can be quite a pleasant and enriching experience for both the child and parent! Reading helps your child unwind after a full day of school, play, and activities. Not only do books feed the mind, it promotes bonding, improves attention span, builds vocabulary, and enhances memory. Here are some strategies to help encourage your child to read. I used these with my own child, and they’ve even helped turn a few young readers’ reluctance into enthusiasm!
Encourage by example!
Young children love to copy the actions of their parents, caregivers, and siblings. Around the time when my son was able to sit up on his own, I would give him a picture book to flip through as I reviewed my own reading material. I noticed that when I turned the page, he turned the page… and when I followed the sentences with my fingers, he would do the same. Now at age 14, reading continues to be a regular part of his daily routine!
Read every day.
The more your child is exposed to literature, the easier it is to inject reading as part of their daily lives. Read a few chapters (together or individually) every day, and when the book is finished, start the next. Books introduce children to new information, concepts, and awareness with every story!
Sharing story interpretations.
Books encourage us to share with each other our individual understanding of the very same book. There was a story my son and I read together when he was in kindergarten where we each took away different interpretations of the story. It was very interesting to share our thoughts and this helped my child learn that different people can interpret one idea in many different ways.
Let your child choose what they read.
Allowing children to choose what they read goes a long way in raising life-long readers. Of course, parents and caregivers should make sure the material is age appropriate. Help them choose age-appropriate books on topics that interests them. Kids are more engaged with what they are reading and retain the information better when they’ve made the choice themselves. Need a list of awesome books? Here are 30 great books every kid should read before they grow up!
Take advantage of a variety of reading opportunities around you.
Encourage your child to read road signs, menus at the restaurant, movie names, game guides, product names at the store, and any other practical everyday information!
Make use of electronic gadgets and apps.
Kids today are digitally connected anyway, so why not take advantage of this in a positive way? Download e-readers and other fun reading apps to their electronic devices. This gives children who have grown up in an age of smartphones, tablets, and computers an outlet with which they are familiar to grow and learn.
Show interest in your child’s reading.
Your response or feedback certainly influences your child’s enthusiasm for reading. Show interest in what they are reading and their thoughts about what they’ve read so far and give them genuine praise for their efforts.