Reading can be like marmite for children, they either love it or hate it.
For those that love it, reading can be one of the most enjoyable and beneficial activities. For you as parent, it will be one of the most delightful things to see them do – second to watching them sleep (the little angels). Those parents who find it a struggle getting their youngsters to sit down even for five minutes, might find that reading time can be a challenge. Many can find it a chore and something that should only be done during school hours. So, how can you turn your child into a celebrated bookworm? Our tips below are a good place to start.
Give them choice
Reading doesn’t have to be confined to books. Reading material comes in a variety of forms: magazines, comics, shopping lists, written instructions for board games, even cereal boxes or restaurant menus! All provide great opportunities to practise reading skills. Giving your child choice and allowing them to be guided by their interests will make reading more accessible and enjoyable. This is especially true for new readers and will undoubtedly encourage them to read more.
Keep it fun
Despite what many unenthusiastic readers will say, reading is not boring and can bring heaps of fun. Of course, ending a reluctant reader’s preconception of this is no easy task. You’ll need to put the effort in to ensure the experience is enjoyable. By making reading an interactive activity, creating activities related to the stories you’re reading (yes, go on a real treasure hunt, turn that tall lampshade into a beanstalk and pretend to climb it), you’ll inflect real fun into your child’s reading time and really get their imagination going.
Rewards are a great incentive to get children to pick up a book. By creating a record of achievement like a chart or graph to mark your child’s progress with the number of pages or books they successfully read, it can give them a real sense of accomplishment. Each time a goal is achieved, reward them with something to celebrate their success. It can also be as simple as making them their favourite meal, allowing them an extra hour of screen time. Or giving them ice-cream!
Make reading a part of family life
Children often copy our behaviour. So the more they see you with a book too the more they are likely to develop their own interest. Getting them to view reading as a positive and regular activity within the home and shared by the whole family is key to encourage them to read. Make sure to carve out time during the busy week and dedicate it to reading. And reading doesn’t have to stop once the books are closed: engaging with your child about what they are reading, the characters they are enjoying and what you yourself are reading is a great way to get conversations going and brew excitement for them to finish their stories and pick new ones.