10 ways to get children to form a reading habit
Picking up a book to read seems to be something only the older generation indulges in these days. The reality is, people seem to be more entertained by games and other interactive applications that are found on iPods, iPads and other similar gadgets.
This is not a bad thing per se, but if gadget time is the only thing that keeps your kids occupied, it’s not a good thing either. Children need to be doing other things like reading, drawing and/or playing outdoors.
Reading, especially, is a great activity for kids — it doesn’t cost much and it opens your child’s mind to different ‘worlds’, without you having to go anywhere!
So, if you want to encourage your child to form a good reading habit, just click ‘Next’ for some helpful tips!
1. Books, books, books all around!
Surrounding your child with books from a very early age is probably the most effective way to encourage and instill the love for reading. Limiting screen time (on TV and other gadgets) is also best, especially for very young children.
Without the distractions of the television and other electronic gadgets, your child will be more likely to pick up a book and read, and thus, be more likely to form a reading habit.
2. Let your child see you read.
Setting an example may not be a bad idea either. If you are a keen reader yourself and read every spare minute you have, your little darling is probably going to imitate your love for reading by doing the same himself/herself.
3. Gift your child with his/her own reading nook.
Let your child have his/her own bookshelf and fill them with books that he/she will enjoy reading.
Providing as many books as possible on the topics that interest your child is a great way to ignite his/her passion for reading.
4. Make reading part of your daily routine.
Encourage your child to change his/her mindset that reading only involves books.
Teach him/her to read anything and everything — from information on the cereal box while you’re having breakfast to billboards on the road while you’re on the way to school… the possibilities are endless!
5. Read aloud to your children every day.
Most parents read aloud books to their toddlers and little kids, but this usually tapers off when the child grows older.
Research shows, though, that most kids benefit when their parents read aloud to them, even when they are older and able to read by themselves. Read-aloud ‘advocate’ Jim Trelease, author of the Read-Aloud Handbook, explains it quite clearly:
“Reading aloud also increases a child’s attention span…
“…reading aloud to your child is a commercial for reading. When you read aloud, you’re whetting a child’s appetite for reading.
“The truth is, what isn’t advertised in our culture gets no attention. And awareness has to come before desire.
“A child who has been read to will want to learn to read herself. She will want to do what she sees her parents doing. But if a child never sees anyone pick up a book, she isn’t going to have that desire.
6. When it comes to presents, choose books over toys.
Giving a book as a present will be quite exciting for your child, especially if it is a book he/she wants.
If you really think about it, gifting your child with books is quite a good investment, compared to toys which he/she may eventually outgrow or get bored with.
7. Talk about the books he/she has read.
Having friendly discussions with your child about a book he/she has finished from cover to cover will show him/her that you take interest in what he/she reads — thus, encouraging him/her to read even more!
Also, encouraging him/her or praising him/her verbally every time he/she finishes a book will work wonders in helping your child form a reading habit.
8. Give incentives and rewards for reading.
Incentives are another effective way to get your child to form a healthy reading habit. Little kids and older kids love to be acknowledged for their efforts.
For starters, try giving out gold stars, stickers or anything that your child will be proud to receive as a reward for reading.
9. Visit the library or a favorite bookstore.
Going to the library or bookstore can be a treat for any child, as long as he/she has Mummy or Daddy around. Make a day out of it by going for an ice cream cone or having a favorite snack afterwards.
10. Use bribes, if necessary.
If all else fails, there is nothing wrong with bribing your child to read… only at the beginning, of course! Some parents use this method so successfully that their kids eventually fall into a comfortable pattern of reading, and no longer require a bribe.
“Bribes” need not be expensive either — a sweet treat or maybe even a shiny $1-coin for every book read — may help your child form a good reading habit in the long run.
Do you have other tips and tricks for encouraging children to form a reading habit? Please do share them with us by leaving a comment below!