Encouraging children to read outside of school has always been challenging, and society’s growing dependence on television and smartphones has made it even more so. If your children are watching screens too much, try these seven tips to encourage them to choose books instead.
1. Lead by example
As a parent, you are your children’s first and most important role model. If you watch hours of TV or check Facebook all night, your kids will notice and likely pick up your bad habits.
If you prioritize reading in your own life, your children will learn from your behaviors. Even if you’re busy, set small goals that you both can achieve, like trying to finish at least one novel per month.
2. Create a reading routine
Establishing a routine is a great way to ensure a new habit sticks. Study your current schedule and decide on recurring time blocks to dedicate to reading, like right after school or before bedtime.
You can also add weekly or bi-monthly trips to the library into your routine. Take every chance to incorporate reading into your child’s everyday life.
3. Read together
Reading is usually a solitary pursuit, but if your child has a short attention span, it may be better to make it a group activity. Try choosing a book you will both enjoy and take turns reading aloud to each other.
Reading the same book also allows for better discussion of the story afterward. By sharing your thoughts and feelings, your child will better understand the story’s central ideas and themes.
4. Let kids choose the material
Children often don’t enjoy reading for school because the novels are forced upon them. While it is important to read the classics, it may be better if they choose lighter, more “fun” reading material at home.
Consider your child’s interests and suggest books that follow the same themes. Give them a sense of control by letting them have the final say. Also, never force them to finish a book they aren’t enjoying, as they may get frustrated and discouraged.
5. Make reading fun
Make the transition from playtime to reading time easier by turning reading time into a game. Try setting reasonable goals for your children, such as reading a certain number of pages per week. Keep score and offer fun rewards when they meet their goals.
Sometimes, a change of setting can help as well. Take your books to a park, a beach, or a museum, and spend the afternoon reading together.
6. Create a reading nook
Reading nooks are designated areas in a bedroom, playroom, or elsewhere in the house that are outfitted with book storage, comfy seating, and proper lighting to offer children a relaxing spot to curl up with a good book.
A special reading space may be all the encouragement your child needs to settle down and spend time with a good book!
7. Try an e-reader
If your child is resisting traditional paper books, try having them use an e-reader instead. They may feel more open to reading while using something that is more technologically advanced. E-readers are light and user-friendly, and many are reasonably priced.
Newer e-readers also have some helpful features that books don’t, such as allowing you to change the text size, take notes, and see word definitions. These extra features can greatly improve your child’s reading comprehension.
Establishing consistent reading habits is important for your child’s development, so start encouraging reading time as early as possible. By using these seven tips, even reluctant children will learn to discover new worlds and ideas through reading..