You know reading’s fun – in fact, as an adult, you’d probably love to have more time available to curl up with a good book. But how can you convince your kids or students to do the same? For parents and teachers with kids who already know how to read, the issue isn’t teaching them – it’s getting them to use their reading skills to open up a world of fun.
We live in a visual world, and unfortunately books have been replaced by TV, video games, and smartphones. But showing a child how wonderful reading is can be a lifelong gift.
Here are some tips to encourage your child to read and convince him or her that reading is fun!
1. The Right Environment
Creating the right environment helps immensely in encouraging reading. Whether in school or at home (depending on your school’s rules, of course), you can create a cozy reading area with comfortable chairs (beanbag chairs are always a favorite), pillows, and even stuffed animals.
At home, provide snacks. The reading area should be comfy and inviting - but the rule is, only reading can be done there. No phones, no electronics, no games, and so forth. Creating a comfy environment gives kids an instant reward for reading.
Another aspect of a reader-friendly atmosphere is making sure that books are readily available. Nothing discourages reading as much as not having books at your fingertips! Consider putting books in the bathroom, too.
2. Use Cliffhanger Moments
Sometimes kids who don’t like to read for fun still like it when you read books to them. Try reading a chapter or section of a book, and leave off at a very exciting part (many children’s books are written this way, but if not you can choose a good place to stop). Then, tell your child that you don’t have time to finish reading right now but that she is welcome to keep reading on her own. If you’re a teacher, have extra copies on hand of the book you’re reading aloud and offer to loan them out to students to take home.
3. Read To and With Your Child
You’ve probably heard it said before, but it bears repeating – reading to and with your child is a great way to encourage them to read on their own. You don’t always have to use the “cliffhanger moments” to get them interested; just read to them and open their eyes to the wonderful world of books.
4. Regular Trips to the Library
Take your child with you on trips to the library. If he or she picks out a book, it’s more likely that he or she will actually read it. Also, many libraries host reading workshops and other programs to encourage reading.