Reading is a habit that is hard to start, but once it starts, the benefits are well worth it.
It’s not just about developing good reading skills – reading will help you in all areas of your life. The more time your child spends reading, the better off they will be academically. Reading can also improve their vocabulary and teach your child how to think critically. Plus, with so many great books out there these days (both classic and modern), there really is something for everyone – even a reluctant reader!
Why is Reading Important for Children?
One of the best things that parents and adults can do for children is to make time in their days to read aloud with their kids. Reading aloud to young children promotes cognitive development, and is an excellent tool for stimulating creativity and empathy while fostering a love for literacy.
Reading helps cognitive development by developing the ability to think and understand. Reading and reading comprehension is important for all ages. It increases memory, problem-solving skills, and decision-making in childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. These skills help form the foundation for your child’s educational future.
How to Encourage Your Child to Read
There are many ways to encourage a child’s love of reading. I am sure you have heard it before, but reading aloud with children is one of the best things you can do to promote literacy and foster a lifelong love of reading.
Reading aloud involves not just reading the book to your child, but also using your voice and emotion to help bring characters and situations within the stories to life. Bringing the stories to life will help your child discover that reading materials are not always boring and do not have to be difficult.
On your lap is the best place to begin encouraging your child to read, but if you have a reluctant reader then sometimes you need to think out of the box. To build a love of literacy with your struggling reader you will need to get creative. Thankfully reading is a part of our everyday life.
Besides reading aloud to children, you can motivate your child to read by:
- Letting your child choose their own books. A reluctant reader is not a child that doesn’t enjoy reading – they are simply just a child who hasn’t found what they enjoy reading. For tips on how to help your child choose an age appropriate book, read our PICK method.
- Introduce your child to more difficult reading materials or new books using audiobooks.
- Let your child read the “other stuff.” If they aren’t into books that’s ok! A variety of reading materials will motivate your child to read. Magazines, comic books, graphic novels…whatever kids love – they all work as an excellent way to practice reading. For my kids this started out as Pokémon cards and a Pokémon manual – but they were reading!
- Create a set time daily for reading. Even if it is just a couple of minutes each day, reading daily will help your child develop an interest in reading.
- Read the same materials as your child and then discuss it together. If your child is passionate about the topic or subject this is even better! Reading together and discussing what is read is a fantastic way to develop reading habits.
- Turn the captions on devices at home. I am not a big one for screen time, but captions on the TV and/or tablets work for getting kids to read 😉
- And while we are on the topic of screens…see if eBooks will motivate your child to read. You can even find eBooks for free!
- Focus on your child’s strengths! If your child struggles with reading they may be avoiding books out of fear. Find what your child is good at and use these strengths as an avenue to reading encouragement. For example, if your child struggles with sounding out words but is really good at comprehending what is happening within the story, let them know they are doing an awesome job understanding the story. Feeling good about what we can do will encourage your child to keep trying.
- Play! Find or develop activities that your child can do that corresponds to what they are reading. This will help your child develop a deeper comprehension of what they read while making reading fun. For ideas on activities you can do with books check out our list below.
- Make reading social. One way to do this is to get engaged with your local library. Having a library card and attending library events is a fantastic way to show a reluctant reader that reading can be fun. Another ideas for creating a social reading environment would be things such as book clubs or a friend your child can swap books with.
Activities to Motivate Your Child to Read
Pairing books with fun activities is one of my favorite ways to encourage reluctant readers to engage with a book. Below you will find some of the book activities that we have shared on site.
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