Reading is an essential part of learning. Teaching your child to read and encouraging them to practice reading skills regularly is vital in ensuring that your child develops language proficiency. As a parent, you might find it difficult to constantly encourage and motivate your kids to read.
At CambriLearn, we encourage our students to read regularly and we try to instil a love for reading in all our learners. We believe that children learn better when they want to learn and encouraging them to be self-motivated in reading is the first step in creating a learning environment where they are self-motivated in their personal development.
Tips to encourage a child to read
Here are some tips to help parents motivate their children to want to read without having to nag them constantly.
Create a book nook
Create a quiet and comfortable area where your child wants to hang out and read. This could be in their bedroom or in another area of your home. Creating an area where your child wants to hang out makes reading time even more appealing. You don’t need to get too fancy with the space, but rather encourage your child to help you set up the area. Their inclusion in the process will motivate them to want to spend more time in the space.
Model the behaviour
Children generally model the behaviour they see around them. If a child is surrounded by books, they will likely grow up to love books. If you want to encourage your child to read then you should let them see you reading. If a child thinks that books bring you joy, then they will be more likely to choose reading over less stimulating activities.
Choose a subject matter that interests them
One of the biggest mistakes that educators and parents make when trying to force their children to read is that they choose subjects or topics that are of no interest to the child. Reading is reading, no matter what subject you choose! The important thing is that the child is enjoying the process and is self-motivated to pick up a book. If your child is interested in dinosaurs then find books that have stories about dinosaurs - fact or fiction.
Bring books to life
Reward good reading behaviour with activities that highlight their subject of interest. For the child who loves dinosaurs, treat them to a dinosaur-themed excursion like a museum or theme park. By allowing kids to live the experiences that they read about they will improve reading comprehension, memory recollection, and most importantly be more motivated to explore more books about their particular subject of choice.
Watch a movie
Another way to bring books to life is to watch movies. Reward your child with a movie on their chosen subject. You can set up a fun movie night in your living room or you can take them to the cinema. Watching movies is a great way to motivate reluctant readers. After watching the movie encourage an open discussion about what they watched. Ask if they preferred the book or the movie and if they found any information to be contradictory or complementary.
Visit the library
Your local library is a valuable free resource to help encourage reading. Make the trips to the library fun and exciting. Many libraries will have free events and activities so visit your local library's website or social media pages to stay up to date on what is happening in your area. Get your kids a library card and plan regular monthly visits. It also wouldn’t hurt to end off the trip with ice cream or a trip to the park. By associating the outing with a positive experience the child will look forward to their monthly library visits.
Even recipe books can help motivate your child to read and they can help develop their comprehension skills. Get out a child-friendly recipe book and let your child choose a recipe to cook with you. Let them take the lead by reading the ingredients and instructions out loud. Reading out loud is an important language development skill and by encouraging your child to practice reading aloud in an environment where they feel comfortable, they will likely feel less anxious when they are asked to read aloud in a peer environment.
If you don’t feel like cooking then instead of following a recipe try to find some fun crafts and activities to do with your child. The practice and learning outcomes will be the same.
Start a book club
Book clubs aren’t just for moms who like wine, they can also be great for kids to share their love for reading. Chat to your friends or neighbours and join or create a book club within your community. Encourage the group to meet weekly. Let them discuss the books they are reading and swap books amongst the group. Allow each child the opportunity to host the meetings to ease the burden of having one parent host every week, or get the group to meet at the library or a public park.
Children like to discuss topics that are of interest to them and by asking them open-ended questions about what they are reading, you are not only showing them that you are interested in their interests but you are also helping them develop comprehension and memory recollection skills. Ask them who their favourite character is, why they like them or what they think will happen next.
Get them a magazine
Magazines and ebooks can be great educational resources for reluctant readers. This is due to the shorter format articles and pictures used in the design layout. If your child doesn’t enjoy reading books then pop down to your local store and find a magazine that may be of interest to them. Remember to try to find reading material on a subject that interests them. Even better, why not gift them with a monthly magazine subscription, the excitement of their monthly delivery may be enough to spark their motivation to read.
Don’t leave the house without a book
Instead of allowing too much screentime and reaching for a smartphone whilst in the waiting room, rather encourage your child to use those times to read. By never leaving the house without a book, your child will be able to combat the boredom associated with waiting rooms with the exciting pages of a book or magazine.
These are just a few fun ways to help your child fall in love with the practice of reading. The most important thing is to ensure that you don’t force your child to read and create a negative association with reading. Model good behaviour and don’t punish the child for not wanting to read. Rather let them discover for themselves, at their own pace, the wild and wonderful world of reading!