"How can I get my kids to read more?"
This is one of the most common questions I get asked by other moms. We all know the benefits of reading, and parents want the best for their children.
Every child is different, and it's to be expected that some kids enjoy reading more than others. Some children have had a negative experience, like poor vision or an embarrassing moment, to turn them off of reading. Inevitably, there also comes an age where reading isn't "cool" anymore.
If you can, address any issues that might be hindering your child's reading progress. Do they need glasses or contacts? Do they need help reading out loud? Would an e-reader allow them to feel confident enough to keep reading throughout their teen years?
Once you've cleared up any outside hindrances, here are some easy ways to gently encourage your kids to read more.
Fill the Bookshelves
One of the simplest ways to get your child to read more books is to own more of them. A study from the University of Nevada shows that children who own books read more often and perform better in school than those who do not.
A very easy way to get quality books for your child's home library is through a children’s book subscription box like Little Fun Club. They deliver a box of hand-selected books to your doorstep every month, providing your child with both classics and newer titles. With plenty of good books on their shelves, your kids can read and reread them as often as they wish.
Give Magazines a Go
Who says reading material needs to come in book format? Magazines cover a wide variety of interests and provide a different kind of reading experience. The short format and high-interest stories might be exactly what your child craves. Here are some popular magazines to try:
- Sports Illustrated Kids
- Kids Discover
- National Geographic Kids
- American Girl Magazine
- Cricket Magazines
Let Your Child Choose
One of my friend's sons disliked reading until he was about five years old. Five wasn’t the magical age when he miraculously started to love reading. It was the age when my friend stopped trying to read traditional picture books to him. Instead, she let him choose his own book from the nonfiction section of the library. He chose a book about the history of Ford trucks. To my friend, this sounded like a total snoozer, but for a truck-obsessed boy, it was perfect.
If you let your kids pick their own reading material, they'll find books and resources that interest them and give them an incentive to keep reading.
Take your child to the library. Let them browse. Help them find a book of crafts, origami, history, machines, outer space, animals, ancient Egypt, or whatever interests them, then bring it home. Let them look through it and read at their own pace. They won't know you've tricked them into reading until it's too late.
Try Different Formats
If your child shies away from novels or books with a lot of text, try a non-traditional approach. The trick is to find reading material that doesn't feel like a chore. Do they love Pokémon? Find a collector’s guide. If they're hooked on Minecraft, give them a how-to book or guidebook. Here are some other ideas:
- Graphic novels and comics
- Audio books
- Joke books
- Fact books like almanacs and animal encyclopedias
- Books of science experiments, crafts, and activities
Read Aloud to Your Kids
Even when they're past the picture book stage, kids love hearing books read aloud. I struggled for a long time with getting my second child to enjoy reading. The thing that finally won her over was reading aloud to her and her sister every night. I let the kids decide on the book, and then we read a chapter or two together every night.
My daughter needs to keep her hands busy, so while I'm reading, she constructs massive art projects, draws pictures, or puts together crafts. I’ve come to recognize that my kids have different learning styles and different ways of connecting with a story. And I'm always surprised at how much she can tell me about the books we read, even if it seems like she wasn't listening at the time.
Remember, be persistent and lead by example. The more often your kids see you reading, the more likely they will be to pick up a book.
Do you have experience in getting a child to read more? What worked for you? Let me know in the comments!
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