A lot of children love to read or be read to, but definitely not all. And it has been shown that shoving a book in your child’s hands or making them go to bed unless they read aren’t effective strategies to ingrain a love of books into your child’s head. So if you have a reluctant reader on your hands how can you encourage them to read or ignite that passion within them? Is it even possible to make someone like reading if they don’t already?
I love reading so much that it’s my personal belief if someone doesn’t like reading it means they just haven’t found the right book for them yet- I could be wrong, but that’s just me. But studies have shown that reading is a critical part of children’s development and it is also something they are going to have to do all throughout their entire school career, so it is important for even our reluctant readers to read. So how can you encourage them without forcing them?
Elementary school teacher and author Steve Reifman has tried to answer that question by creating a list specially designed for parents with reluctant readers on how to encourage them to read and try and ignite a love of books within them. His seven strategies for encouraging kids to read are listed below:
1. Begin with children’s passions.
They will be more excited about reading if it involves their interests. So allow your child to pick out books and magazines on their own of subjects they are interested in. Kids are more motivated to do things when they feel they have a choice in the matter, so allowing them to pick their own books out makes them feel less reluctant and more excited to read.
2. Make reading a social experience.
Children who don’t enjoy reading by themselves will be more likely to enjoy reading with others. Whether it is with you, their siblings, or their friends, your child will most likely be more enthusiastic about reading if other people are involved.
3. Read aloud to your children.
Most parents read to their children when they are quite young but stop once they know how to read by themselves. Even if your child is able to read on their own, it is important to continue to read with them throughout their elementary years. It makes reading more enjoyable, improves listening, and strengthens their imagination and attention span. Plus it serves as a bonding experience between you and your child.
4. Take advantage of technology.
If your child doesn’t find books very interesting, they might if instead of on paper it was on a tablet. To children technology seems cooler, so capitalize on that by letting them borrow your kindle or iPad to read.
5. Be their role model.
Your reluctant reader will definitely notice if you are always telling them to read but you yourself never do. By demonstrating a love of reading and having plenty of books your child will begin to value reading more themselves.
6. Make sure they are reading books geared towards their age and reading level. Presenting a child with a book that is too easy will bore them but giving them a book that surpasses their reading level will frustrate and steer them even further away from other books. When encouraging your child to read, make sure you select books that will challenge them but aren’t way too difficult.
7. Camouflage reading.
Parents can start to increase the amount of time their child reads by disguising it beneath seemingly unrelated activities, like reading a menu or the directions to a board game. Sitting down and having them read a book isn’t the only way to begin to get them interested in reading. Get creative!