Reading is one of the best ways to escape the stress and the mundane. Children should be taught to read and appreciate what reading gives them at an early age. Reading to a young child is a must to instill the importance and love of reading.
Another important part in encouraging a lifelong habit of reading and love for the “sport” is to have a comfortable space. Of course, reading can be done anywhere, but when you see giant bean bags and a soft, fluffy blanket, you are more apt to snuggle up with a good book.
Here are 8 fantastic ways to encourage your child to read more:
1. Read to Them
One of the best and simplest ways to encourage your children to read is by reading to them. You can start the day they are born, or even when they are in the womb. Babies love the sound of their parents’ voices and what better way to communicate with them than to read to them.
Babies and toddlers will appreciate you spending time with them and doing something simple like reading a book. Reading out loud to children gives them something to concentrate on and entertains them for more than a few minutes.
While reading, try to change your voice up a bit. Make different noises and sounds will keep them interested longer, and may solicit a laugh or two.
2. Show Them a Love of Reading
When children see their parents or caregivers reading, they will know it is something they can do. Showing your children you love reading is important for their growth. Just like showing them how to be polite and kind, allowing your children to see your love of reading will help them become more well-rounded individuals.
Read books, newspapers and magazines. When a child sees their parents doing something, almost anything, they want to copy them out of love. Setting good examples by allowing your child to copy good behaviors like reading.
3. Have Them Read to a Pet
Many libraries sponsor a “Reading to Rover” style night once a month, but you can set up something similar in your own home. Have your child read to the pets in your home. Cats, dogs and even fish are nonjudgmental listeners and are more patient with early readers than other students and siblings.
By having your child read to a pet, you are giving them the confidence they may not feel reading in school or other places. You are also giving them a respect and love of animals by showing them they can be kind to pets and treat them like family.
4. Designate a Special Reading Area
Have your child help you decorate a small reading nook that is for them and their books only. Fill the space with comfortable pillows and throw blankets that will help them calm down for reading.
Ask your child what they like and decorate with that as the main theme. It could be books about princesses, animals, super heroes or animals, no matter what they like, try to incorporate these things into their reading space.
5. Read Everything
While out doing errands, read the sales signs in the store, read the street signs along your route and read the names of the stores you are visiting. When your child learns that reading is all around them, they will have a better understanding and appreciation of words and their meanings.
Help them to read signs, menus and any written words you come across as you travel through your town. They may recognize signs and logos first, but after a while, they will be reading and not simply going on memory.
6. Take Them to The Library
Even at a very young age, many libraries have comfortable spaces where parents and babies or toddlers can settle in and read age appropriate books. There is also room for them to explore and handle the books without worry or criticism.
Take them to the library every week and allow them to grow their appreciation for borrowing books. Many libraries will allow toddlers to have their own library card as long as a parent or guardian is with them when they check out a book.
7. Invest in Audio Books
Audio books may not seem like reading, but it is a helpful tool to link your child to books. When your child hears someone reading confidently, they will want to emulate that person. The only way they will be able to read as well as someone on an audio book is to practice.
Another great reason audio books are helpful is they allow your child to hear different voices. You may read aloud to your child, for as long as they will allow you to, but when they hear others reading, especially with different accents and inflection, they will increase their imagination’s capabilities to “see” the book.
8. Don’t Force Them to Read
When you force a child to read, you are taking the fun out of something they may otherwise love. Start out slow and if your child resists, start at the library. Show them how much fun reading can be by making your library trip into an adventure.
A lot of times the library will sponsor theme nights or have reading programs for children of all ages. The library leader may read to the children, then ask them questions or have them do a craft around the reading of the day.
Reading is an important part of life at any age. When a child grows up with an appreciation of reading and a love of the written word, they will be better, more well-rounded adults. They will be more compassionate toward those less fortunate than themselves when they can read about a variety of characters. Allow them to read everything, even if it is something you may not like. Allow your child to figure out what they like best without your influence, that way they will truly appreciate the books they will choose and read.