Many parents are often surprised and confused when one child picks up great reading habits at an early age, and will read everything that they can get their hands on, while the other child wants absolutely nothing to do with the written (or illustrated) word.
How can you get your child interested in reading?
Obviously, forcing the issue is just as likely to turn them away from their books as it is to encourage them to read a little more. So, instead, you can use some of these simple tips to work with each child’s individual needs and interests to help them want to read more often.
1. Always have Reading Material
Don’t leave home without something your child can read.
Take a small book with you everywhere, especially if it’s the book you’ve been reading together the past few days.
Got a moment on the bus? Read together. Found a nice place to relax at the local park? Read together.
It doesn’t have to be anything large, or even have a particularly educational intent. You just have to take every opportunity to have some fun reading together.
2. Comics Absolutely Count
The first things kids are really going to pay attention to on their reading journey is not the words, but the pictures that accompany them. These illustrations are going to be the most engaging part of reading time for a very long time.
For many of us, we still love illustrated stories in the form of comics or graphic novels.
So don’t feel like you need to dissuade your child from preferring the latest comic books over children’s books and short stories. It’s hard to blame them when comic book movies and toys are so prevalent these days.
So, if that’s what they prefer reading, take this opportunity to make sure they’re still learning new vocabulary and retaining the story.
3. “Read” on the Road, Too
It’s always tempting to just hand the kids a tablet and let them watch a show or play a game while you’re driving. However, this is a great opportunity to do something different.
We’re not talking about actually reading a book while you travel, since that can make some people feel a little motion sick.
Instead, take the opportunity to listen to an audiobook together.
Yes, listening to an audiobook can provide a lot of the same benefits as actually reading a physical book for children.
This way you can share some great stories with your kids (and there are plenty of audiobooks aimed at young readers) while exposing them to a new sense of reading fluency.
4. Pay Attention to The Things That Grab Their Attention
Maybe it’s not the difficulty of the words, but their interest in the subject matter that is making things difficult for your young reader.
You may love grand adventure stories, but your children may actually be developing an interest in everyday animals and people and places.
Ask them what they like – and what it is they like about it – and find ways to support those interests with relevant reading material.
5. Participate in Afterschool Programs
Enrolling your children in afterschool programs can help improve academic achievement – including their reading abilities.
This is a great chance for them to discover new books and new stories and share their experiences with others their own age.
After school daycare programs are a great way to reinforce the fun and importance of reading at school and at home.
6. Be Excited
This is probably the key to your success.
Everything else we’ve mentioned so far will hinge on this one thing.
You can tell your child to read, and tell them how fun it is to read, and tell them about all the wonderful adventures they’ll discover through reading…
But they won’t believe a word of it if you approach reading time like it’s a terrible and burdensome chore.
And, let’s make it clear: reading is great for everyone. While your child is picking up new reading habits and opening up their abilities and imaginations, you can be doing the same thing.
So, get excited about this time you get to spend together and enjoy these stories while you can.
Has it been a while since you’ve really stopped to enjoy a good book? It has for most of us. Get excited about reading and when your child sees you enjoying it so much, their natural curiosity will draw them to it, too.