Creating Lifetime Learners

15 Simple Ways to Encourage Your Child to Read

Research shows that the most criticial aspect to whether a child reads or not, and continues the habit into adulthood, is how the feel about reading. If they have negative associations with it, they will avoid it, and likely stop doing it once it is not ‘required.’

On the other hand, if they associate reading with being enjoyable and fun, they will be more likely to do it on their own and continue the habit throughout their life. Parents play a major role in fostering a child’s feelings toward reading. They can create positive associations by providing the right opportunities for reading and by generating fond memories and feelings of reading together as a family or as parent and child.

However, forcing a child to read can have the opposite effect. Reading should be a choice. It can be encourage though with the following ideas.

1. Provide a family reading time. This can be spent reading aloud, or individually. It could be after dinner, or any other meal, but it should be reserved for nothing else but reading. Even if a child is not interested, with consitence, they will most likely grow accustomed to the practice and begin to enjoy it.

2. Subscribe to magazines that are of interest to the child. Allow the child to pursue their own interests is one way to encourage reading. Don’t try and force them to read what you think they should read, but allow them to make their own choices based on what interests them. They’ll enjoy the reading much more, ensuring that they’ll want to continue the habit.

3. Provide a book allowance that allows them to buy one new book a week or month.

4. Create a place in the child’s room that is comfortable for reading, and where they can keep their own books.

5. Model reading by letting your children see you reading books everyday, on your own time.

6. Schedule regular family visits to the library. It’s helpful for children to learn the abundance of information that is available on any topic that might interest them.

7. Give books as gifts or rewards instead of implying that their too ‘boring’ to receive as a present.

8. Order a book in the mail every month. The anticipation of receiving something addressed to them, and the excitement for wanting to read it as soon as it arrives, helps to develop those positive associations with books.

9. Take family hikes, picnics or other outings and bring along books that you can read while your out.

10. Help your children learn where to find books and information on the topics that interest them. Let them know that they can find a book on (nearly) any topic. Reading what interests them is how the love of reading is ingrained.

11. Attend book sales and fairs and let them choose their own books.

12. Display books in prominent places in the home. Let your children know books are important (how about having a book shelf replace your T.V. entertainment center?)

13. Allow your child to put his or her name in their book. A sense of ownership is important. You might even have labels created that they can place in the book.

14. Allow special privileges for reading, like being able to stay up later with a flashlight if they are reading a book.

15. Have ‘book nights’ instead of movie nights. Make popcorn, dim the lights, and everyone cuddle up with a book and a blanket.

Do you have any great ideas that you use to encourage reading? We’d love to hear from you. Please leave a comment


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