How To Help Your Child Learn to Love Reading
I’ve always loved reading. When I was a kid my favorite aunt was a librarian, so every week she’d bring books to our house so I could indulge. I loved loved loved books: Babysitters club, Fear Street Books, Christopher Pike, Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry, any and everything by Beverly Clearly. Shall I go on?
I couldn’t get enough. I even read my older siblings books. We couldn’t watch TV on school days, so we were bored quite frequently. Books saved me, so color me surprised when I discovered that my oldest child wanted nothing to do with the written word. I know what you’re thinking: he’s 9, he has time, but still! I want to create a culture in our home where reading and knowledge is fundamental. That being said, after many failed attempts to get my kid to want to read, I think I’ve sort of cracked the code. The following is a list of ways you might be able to get your kiddos (ages 4-10 or so) to enjoy reading as well.
nine Tips for Helping your Kids to Like Reading
- Read in front of your kids. Put down your IPad or smartphone, and model the behavior you’d like to see. Maybe create “family reading time” where everyone reads, either together as a family, or independently. Either way, if you make reading a thing that everyone does, not a requirement only for kids, it can make reading fun. My son loves our weekly, “family movie night,” but family reading time is becoming a close second.
- Let your kid read to you – Another way to get your elementary kid to enjoy reading is to let them read to you. As they read, don’t try and correct every little mistake. This one is particularly hard for me because I want to jump in and correct all of his mistakes, but relax, Tiger moms, they’re still learning. Nobody likes someone standing over them correcting every little faux pas. Besides, if you knitpick you’ll shake their confidence.
- The right book is everything – In order to get your kid to enjoy reading, they really need the right book in their hands. Take them to the library and let them pick out a few books that they’ll love. It doesn’t matter what the book is. Currently, both of my kids are into Dog Man and Captain Underpants books. These books are silly, but even I enjoy them thoroughly.
- Visit the library often- Our local library is filled with Legos and toy dinosaurs, so during most of our visits, J-Mi just sits on the floors and plays, but JB uses this time to search for the latest in Books about Birds. Before we leave we all pick out a book or two to take home.
- Read at the same time every day – Get a routine going. It doesn’t have to be long, either. Whether you read with your kids before school or after school, reading at the same time every day is important as kids love a routine. This way, when you announce that it’s reading time, it doesn’t feel like a punishment, but a normal part of the day.
- Apply reading to everyday life – Connections are an important part of reading. Help your kids connect what they read to everyday life. For example, JB is into Birds, so we’ll read about a particular bird, then we’ll go out Birding at our local pond.
- Make a reading corner – Another way you can get your kids to enjoy reading is to create a reading corner. A fun place that they can go to enjoy their favorite book. Let your child decorate the reading corner, too.
- Choose topics they love – If your six-year-old LOVES dinos, make sure you get your child some dinosaur books to enjoy! Forcing JB to read books that don’t involve dinosaurs was an exercise in futility. So I gave in and it’s paid off. Let the folks at school dictate which books he can read. At home, make it fun by letting your kid read whatever they want.