As parents, however, it’s not always easy to push your kids to read with all the distractions such as playtime, TV, and gadgets; or perhaps they have underlying reasons like an unknown learning challenge, or they’re simply uninterested in reading. Whatever the reason is, it’s not completely hopeless. Here are 10 easy approaches to help motivate your little ones to read.
1. Showcase Books in Your Home
You should check whether or not your child can reach books in your home. If not, then you may want to reorganize. You need more than just a home library for your children, they need a place in which to easily access their books. It has been proven that children tend to be drawn to the colorful nature of children’s books, and keeping these books within a child’s reach will more likely encourage them to reach for the book and explore its pages.
2. Read With Your Child
I encourage you to read with your child. It may sound simple, but most parents tend to forget that their kids still need their guidance and nurturing throughout their learning journey. The act of reading with your child helps them easily recognize the meaning of the words and stimulates their imagination further. By reading aloud to them, you are ensuring that reading is always a fun and enjoyable activity that they can share with you.
3. Give Books as Gifts
Receiving gifts is always something that kids look forward to, and as much fun as it is to see your kids opening different gifts containing toys, books should have a chance in the limelight too! More often than not, our friends and family give toys as gifts, so if you get the chance, tell them that you’d appreciate a gift of books instead of another set of toys. Explain to them that you’re teaching your little ones to read at an early age, and they’ll be more than willing to oblige.
4. Pick Age-Appropriate Books
When it comes to encouraging your kids to read, picking age-appropriate books is a must. Books with nothing but words and are as thick as a cake will not pique their interest, even if you read it with them. Make sure that you choose colorful books with big images, enough to catch their attention at a glance. Striking colors are always a hit with tiny tots. For kids already beginning to read themselves, it's best to get them books with not too many words, so they can focus their minds on relating the images with the words.
5. Create a Fun and Safe Space
Make a child choose between playtime in the park or reading at home, and they most likely will choose the former. So let’s think, why do kids enjoy playing in the park? It’s because the park offers them a fun and enjoyable environment. Make a cozy reading nook or a reading “fort” for them filled with decorations and their favorite books. They'll associate reading with fun and look forward to their quiet time in their special little space.
6. Show Them You Love to Read
It’s safe to say that kids love to emulate what their parents do. So if you show your kids that you yourself enjoy a book or two, then they most probably will end up doing the same. Routine and visibility is key, make sure your child sees you regularly with a book. Since we, as parents, are mostly really busy the entire day, make a conscious effort to grab a book for at least 15 minutes every day and show them you’re actually enjoying the “down time”.
7. Let Your Kid Choose What to Read
Children are more likely to have a favorite book when they’re young, in a sense that if you have to read “Green Eggs & Ham” for the nth time, then you should oblige their request. Reading the same book over and over actually has its benefits. It helps children become more familiarized with the words they are reading, resulting in them being able to read and comprehend much faster. This, in turn, builds confidence in them, making them more interested in reading other books in the future.
8. Choose a Fun and Engaging Series
When kids read a good series of books, they build up the sense of suspense and expectation of what will happen next. Kids enjoy reading books which make them look forward to something and have interesting and fun plotlines. When choosing a series of books to read, their attention will be more likely drawn in by the story and they will continue reading until they find out whether or not their favorite character finally gets their wish or not.
9. Limit their Time With Gadgets
It should come as no surprise to anyone that one of the greatest enemies of reading are gadgets and gaming consoles. Playing with electronic gadgets does have its advantages, but when you overdo it, it can have a negative effect on a child’s development. You can work out a deal with your child that if he reads one chapter of a book every day he gets at least an hour of screen time. It is a win-win situation for everyone.
10. Incorporate Signs During Playtime
This final tip is actually a way of letting the kids unconsciously learn the meaning of the words because they’re most likely to focus on the play part of this activity. If you’re playing with your kid, put up signs that give them directions or tell them what to do next to advance to the next level. Their brains will pick up the meaning of the words written on the sign and you’ll be amazed at how quickly they grasp the concept of your game.
The best ways to motivate your children to read is to allow them to feel enjoyment while doing it. Forcing them to read will result in negative feelings toward the activity, and more likely end up as a bad memory for them. Instill in them that reading is something that makes them feel good and relaxed, and they'll be more likely to grab a book on their own and start learning.