How to Encourage Your Kids to Read More

How to Encourage Your Kids to Read More

In our electronics-dominated world, it can seem like an impossible task for parents to get their children to read more, let alone to enjoy reading. Your child might be a natural at using the family iPad or your smartphone, but still have trouble in school with their reading assignments.

Fortunately, both schools and families have worked tirelessly over the years to find new ways to promote strong reading habits in their kids. Here's how you can do the same with yours.

1. Start reading to your kids early. It's unlikely that your child is going to pick up a difficult read like Moby Dick at a young age, but you can help them develop a love of reading early on. While toddlers and younger kids will be more into picture books, older children will be better at reading more serious books with constant encouragement. For example, make a habit to read a chapter or a short story to them every night before bed. They'll come to appreciate that time spent together and grow more comfortable with reading on their own soon enough.

2. Visit the library or browse through bookstores. Trips to the library can be a fun activity for you and your child, especially when there are so many genres and subjects that they can learn about. Use their most obvious passion or interest as a springboard for helping them find a book they might like. You can also promote this behavior while shopping, either at a local bookstore or online.

3. Encourage your kids to make their own stories. Being a good reader and a good writer are usually linked, so if you'd like to get your kids to read more, try to get them to write more, too. Every child daydreams or lets their imagination run wild, but it can be an eye-opening experience for them when they see how they can turn those ideas into an actual story. And who says that you can't turn that story into a small book for the rest of the family to enjoy? It'll be a great gift to your child and a good way to show them how powerful reading can be.

4. Don't turn reading into a punishment. Many overactive kids have heard this line from their parents: "Go to your room and read quietly!" The problem is that, sooner or later, they'll begin to associate reading with being punished. If you have to set a punishment for your children, make sure their reading time is kept separate.

5. Don't make your child feel ashamed about what they read. Society trains us to think of some books as "fine literature," but other materials like comic books or magazine articles as junk. If you reinforce this notion with your child, you might be shutting down an early passion for reading. Instead, encourage their preexisting reading habits. Show praise for getting them into what they like and then offer a few books outside of their experience that you think they might like as well.

6. Set a good example and read more yourself. For better or worse, kids pick up most of their habits from watching their parents. If you're not much of a reader at home, now might be a good time to start. Even doing something as simple as reading a chapter each night before you go to bed can make a difference. You may even start to bond with your child over what the two of you are reading and that can make all the difference.


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