So your child is learning to read. That’s amazing! Whether they’re onto reading upper-level picture books, or they’ve already graduated to chapter books, they’re probably a super-excited, voracious reader! Right?? Well, maybe not quite…
Some kids are naturally excited readers–others, it seems, would rather sit and watch grass grow than spend any length of time behind the pages of a book.
But the fact is, reading is a skill that’s necessary for essentially every aspect of life; reading aids critical thinking, it improves social skills, and helps children in countless other ways to navigate through every single day.
So what if your child has never been a big reader? Well, here are 8 of our most brilliant ways to help get your child to love reading!
1. Create a Cozy Reading Nook
How many kids have you ever encountered who wouldn’t die for a permanent fort of their own? Not very many, probably.
If you’re trying to think of the best ways to convince your child to love reading, building them a cozy little reading nook might be just the place to start.
Setting aside a special place for your child–hunting down the right furnishings and blankets and pillows–and topping it off with a bookshelf of your child’s choosing may be just the push they need to start to love reading. If your child feels like he’s got his very own special space for reading, he’s much more likely to latch onto the idea, spending time in his little nook with all his new favorite books.
2. Build Reading into Their Schedule
It’s just the truth: sometimes, life is just too busy for reading. But shoving reading in between school, tee-ball practice, and dance class can cause the activity to feel like a bit of a chore. You’ve got to be intentional and relaxed when building time for reading into your child’s schedule.
If your family is always on the go, it may be a good idea to institute a no-electronics-in-the-car policy. Instead, pack the seat pockets with kids’ magazines, chapter books, poetry books, and other reading materials to get your kids busy reading.
Be intentional about finding time in your child’s schedule to read–even if it’s only for a few minutes each day.
3. Set Aside Time to Read Together
Speaking of finding the time; sometimes the most special and rewarding time spent reading is when it’s done together. Plus, reading aloud to one another can help your child’s processing of information, and lead to a stronger desire to read on their own.
Reading aloud together is the perfect way to wind down before bedtime. Plan to head to bed a few minutes early each night so your child has the time to select a book that you’ll read aloud to her.
Your days are busy, but setting aside a few minutes every day to read together–whenever it may be–is important if you want your child to learn to love reading.
4. Seek Out a Range of Materials
Different children dislike reading for different reasons. One major reason your child may feel less-than-thrilled to pick up a book is that they feel like the reading materials they’re being offered are all the same–and that’s just boring.
Seek out a range of materials for your child; from chapter books to interactive books that require your child to draw or interact with the outside world. Also, try Highlights for Children and other less-traditional materials. Remember that, just because every piece of reading material on your child’s shelf isn’t necessarily a novel, it’s reading material all the same!
Even if the bulk of the books your child has are standard chapter books, allowing them a few wild-card reads can be a great way to offer your child a feeling of freedom.
5. Ask Your Child About Their Reading Interests
Speaking of establishing a wide range of reading materials: It’s important (maybe more important than anything else when it comes to striking a love of reading!) that you ask your child directly about what it is that interests them for reading.
If you’ve been stocking your child’s library with mystery books, but what she really wants to learn is about dinosaurs or American history, it makes sense that she’s a bit reluctant to spend all her time reading, right? Providing your child with books they’re excited to read is incredibly important, and you can check out this website to help you find it!
Consider having a standing conversation. The last Friday of each month, sit down and talk about what your child has read, and the sorts of things they’d like to read next!
6. Make the Library & Bookstore a Special Treat
So, after that conversation about what your child wants to read–then what? Well, then you go find it!
Whether your kid is a big reader or not, there are only a handful of children (or adults, for that matter!) who wouldn’t be super excited to take home a brand new book. There’s just something exciting about new clothes and toys–and books! Use that excitement to help your child learn to love reading.
Making a special treat of spending some time at the library or bookstore can be the perfect way to get your child excited about reading. Let them have the run of the place; they can choose whatever excites them!
7. Engage in Conversations About Reading
One of the most crucial tools for getting your child interested in reading is to engage in regular conversations about reading. By showing your interest in your child’s reading habits and the books they’re reading, you open up a dialogue that can encourage your child to pursue more reading in order to share it with you.
It’s a simple truth: Most kids love to please their parents. They like to feel validated and like you value their thoughts. By asking your child about their reading, you’re accomplishing this!
Make a point to ask about your child’s reading several times a week. Encourage any conversation on the subject that they present–and remember to show them how excited you are to hear their thoughts.
8. Read by Example
You probably saw this one coming. One of the most undeniable ways to teach children anything about life is to lead by example. If they see you’re engaged in your own reading, your kids are far more likely to model this same behavior.
For lots of parents, reading is something they’ve drifted away from over the years. But as your child learns to read, it’s necessary for you to pick up the old habit and show your child how much you love to read, too.
Your child wants to be like you. You want your child to be a reader. You’ve got to read.
Want More Tips to Help Your Child Love Reading?
Being a good and diligent reader is a trait that’ll serve your child long after they’ve mastered the chapter book. Reading helps kids become better learners, better workers, and better people overall.
If you’re looking for more information on how you can help your child love reading and how to tackle other curious topics, check out our page!