You love reading and devour books daily. Yet your child remains apathetic, choosing to play video games or watch television instead of picking up a book. This is perfectly normal when you consider the surplus of distractions competing for your child’s reading time.
But reading offers many benefits, from encouraging imagination to relieving stress. In fact, those who read books frequently experience improved vocabularies, enhanced memory and even a healthier self-esteem. All of these benefits can go a long way toward positively impacting your child’s life. So how can you instill your love of reading in your child?
The challenge to get kids reading and enjoy it is one most parents are bound to face at some point.
Here are six tips that can help children learn to love reading:
1. Start early
. Your child is more likely to enjoy reading if you start reading to him or her at a young age. It’s never too early to start reading! Even in their infancy, children who are read to are greatly benefited. Infants learn speech patterns — rather than actual words — and communications skills from their experiences. By reading to your child early, you are providing more opportunities to develop beginning communication skills. Besides, kids love the attention, and you’ll provide additional bonding time.
2. Set the example
If your children see you reading in your spare time, they are more likely to read themselves. Talk about the books you are reading and what makes them interesting.
3. Read together
This goes back to the bonding time between children and parents mentioned previously. Children yearn for more time with their parents. If they understand that they get more mom-and-dad-time through reading they will develop a fondness for it that becomes a powerful motivational tool.
4. Help children choose books in which they are interested and to which they can relate
Reading should be a choice not a coercion. Let their interest be their guide. If your child is a 12-year-old boy, he’s not likely interested in books full of princesses and ponies. Instead, provide him a variety of reading material on subjects to which he expresses interest. Even better, help him choose books that contain characters near his same age.
5. Reward achievement
Some children are motivated by achievement; others are motivated by a reward for the achievement. Create a visual chart with which your child can track their reading accomplishments. Make sure there is a clear objective at the end (number of books or pages read, or minutes spent). Once they reach their goal, celebrate their accomplishment with something special.
Dedicate a specific amount of time for your child to read each day. After a few weeks of reading consistently, it will become a habit.
Many parents who love to read automatically assume that reading should be naturally enjoyable for their kids. But reading is often an acquired taste — something at which children have to work in order to treasure. If you will be persistent in reading to your kids, setting an example for them, and rewarding their achievements, your children WILL discover the joy that comes from reading and value it throughout their life — eventually receiving the many benefits that come with being a habitual reader. This week, pick one of the six tips listed in this article and begin doing it with your kids. Happy reading!