This is a partnered post.
Some kids devour books like they’re going out of fashion. Others would seemingly rather do anything than reach for a book, even if they’re completely bored and have nothing else to do. Either they find it hard, or they just don’t think it’s interesting. The problem is, reading is a fundamental life skill, and it can help them with many different lessons and in later life when they are working. The better they are at reading and the more comfortable they are with a good book, the more opportunities they’ll find in life.
This is why it’s important to try to motivate children to read more. This isn’t going to be easy for some, but there are many different ways you can try, and once you hit on the one that works, you’ll be glad you made an effort, and so will your child. Read on to find out more.
Books For Their Level
Sometimes you can give a child a book aimed at their age group and find that they read it in just a few hours. Sometimes you can give the same book to another child of the same age, and it takes them many weeks to get through it. This is because, although authors will generally write children’s books with the child’s age in mind, that doesn’t mean the child’s reading level has been considered. A 10-year-old might be at the reading level of a much older child, or a much younger one. Once you know how reading level is measured and you determine what level your child is at, you’ll be able to find books that suit them much better.
When a child is reading a book that works at their specific reading level, they will not struggle as much, and they will be able to read more quickly. This will give them confidence in their reading and motivate them to do more.
Books That Align With Their Passions
There are millions of books available for children, and you will be able to find something that links to any hobby or skill that your child might have, whether it’s ballet, art, video games, fishing, baking, or anything else. Someone somewhere will have written a book about whatever it is that your child loves more than anything else.
If they are a reluctant reader, finding a book that connects with their favorite hobby will give them much more motivation to read it than one they can’t understand because they don’t enjoy the subject matter. Eventually, your child might want to read about other subjects, and there is a wealth of choice out there for them, but even if they only ever read books about dinosaurs or pirate ships or horses, at least they’re reading. That’s enough.
Make Time For Reading
If your child’s life is a particularly busy one with plenty of afterschool activities, homework, playdates, and so on, it can be hard to fit reading in as well, especially if it’s unsupervised. It can even start to feel like something of a chore, and when that happens, it will always fall lower and lower on the priority list until, at some point, it tumbles off the bottom and is forgotten altogether.
So that this doesn’t happen, it’s important to make time for reading. It shouldn’t be done when you have a moment or between other stressful lessons; it should have its own time that is kept special, just for the child to be with their book. Although this might be difficult at first, they will soon get into the habit and even look forward to their reading time, even if initially it meant 20 minutes less TV or less time on their video games.
Read Aloud To Them
Just as it’s important to ensure your child has time to read, it’s also important that you make time to read to them, ideally starting from when they are very young, before they even understand what you’re saying to them or what a book actually is.
Once a child starts to look forward to this time the two of you have together, most usually just before they go to sleep, they’ll start to look at books as something much more than just another school lesson. Those books will remind them of all the times they’ve enjoyed listening to stories with you, and that will make them want to read more.
You might even combine reading aloud with their own reading time. You can read a chapter at bedtime and then have the child read the next one themselves. Before you read the following chapter the next night, have your child tell you what happened when they read to themselves. Not only will this help them remember and even review the writing more, but it will get you up to speed on what you missed – reading to your child should be something you enjoy too.
Create A Reading Nook
If your child doesn’t have anywhere special to read, they might never really feel comfortable with a book in their hands. Perhaps they’re self-conscious about what they’re reading (especially if it’s aimed at younger children) or they just don’t like being disturbed. It might help them if you created a cozy reading nook that they can escape into with their book for as long as they want or need to. This could be simply the corner of a room with many scatter cushions on the floor and some kind of barrier – blankets on a rope is enough – between it and the rest of the world. It doesn’t need to be fancy, although if you have the budget and the skills you can create something quite spectacular if that’s what you choose.
There should be some rules that go along with the reading nook too. Some of those rules might include no screens allowed inside and that anyone who is reading in there must not be disturbed.
It Doesn’t Have To Be A Novel
Novels are perhaps the first thing you think of when considering what to give your child to read, but there are many different types of reading material, and novels are just one. You can also find comic books, poetry, short stories, cookbooks, how-to books, joke books, magazines, and much more.
The type of reading material doesn’t matter quite so much as the fact that your child is reading. You might prefer they read a novel, but if they prefer their instruction manuals or the TV guide, so be it. Something is better than nothing.
Let Your Child See You Reading
Children are always much keener to do something if their parents do it; kids love to emulate their role models, and parents will always be the first role models any child has. With this in mind, make sure your child sees you reading. Maybe you can have a favorite reading spot or a time of the day when you take 10 minutes to read the next chapter of a book.
When your child sees that you are reading, they may well want to do the same. At the very least, you won’t be asking your child to do something you’re not prepared to do yourself, and that can make a big difference when your little one is deciding whether to do as they’re told or not.
Provide Access To Books
If you want to motivate your child to read more, you need to allow them good access to books. Make sure the books in your home are in a place they can be reached, and ensure your child knows they can read any book they want to (if you have any that aren’t suitable, keep them somewhere else).
If you don’t have many books in your home due to the expense or the lack of room, use your public library instead. Make it a routine to go there every week after school and pick out another fun book. This will, ideally, become something your young ones can look forward to.