The first word of the Qur’an to be revealed was “Read!”. This shows how important it is to read as it is a means of gaining knowledge and understanding the world around us.
Motivating children to read is sometimes a struggle and can be frustrating for every parent. All parents want their children to read and blossom. Research shows that children who enjoy reading and spend more time reading for pleasure have been proven to go on to have better reading and writing skills, a broader vocabulary and even an increased general knowledge.
There are many reasons why children don’t like to read, with so many distractions and competing activities for children’s time as they get older, so how can you continue to encourage your child to read for pleasure? Not to worry! Read on for 13 great ways to encourage your mini readers to love reading:
1. Be a role model – read yourself.
Setting examples for children is vital. Therefore, if you don’t read yourself, how can you expect your child to want to read? Let your child see you enjoying reading and soon you may have a keen reader yourself. Remember children often mimic their parent’s behaviour.
2. Take them on a library adventure.
Plan trips to the library and let your child choose books that interest them. Perhaps they’ll choose a book with their favourite character or a character they want to be. Whether it’s a dinosaur or a princess, let their imagination come into play and allow their journey to begin. But let your child choose. If they haven’t warmed to the idea, don’t worry, there will always another time! And when the trip is a success, make them a library card.
3. Books, books and books.
Try to be around books. Have them readily available in your home, in the car and wherever your day takes you.
4. Read to your child.
Establish a daily routine for reading. And yes you have to make time despite how busy you may be if you’re serious. So whether it’s before bed, on road trips or after lunch, reading must fit into your day. To make it interesting and fun, you can both role play! For the older kids, try taking turns reading each page of a favourite book of theirs.
5. Have a wide variety
Whether it’s educational, fiction, or even a comic book, having a wide variety and a range of different genres to choose from is all a part of the fun. But most importantly find books your child will like. Are they interested in animals? Get books that feature it! Both fiction and non-fiction. You want them to read books with topics that appeal to them; not books that make them unhappy.
Also children love pictures in their books, so having pictures full of colour within them, will draw their attention and make them wanting to keep reading more. But it is important that pictures don’t take away from the reading or story telling itself.
6. Try audio books.
If you’re not confident at reading, there’s no need to panic, keep at it your child will still enjoy your efforts. You can also try out audio books which your child can use and follow along while reading their favourite book. Even if you’re a book worm, encourage audio books. Your child might be interested in books that act out the story.
7. Book club.
Pair up with another parent or reading club and get your kids together. Pick a time and place to meet and simply bring the books. Your kids can read side-by-side, take turns reading aloud, or listen to an audio book together. Reading doesn’t have to be private – it can be fun and done with others!
8. Offer incentives.
Build a program with your child by proposing rewards for every book that has been read.
Find what works for you. Think “Treat Book”-program. Set a goal with them and when it’s met reward your child. Go out for dinner or a movie, buy a toy and so forth. Then raise the bar slightly so your mini-reader can continue growing.
9. No Tech Day.
Pick a day of the week and ban TV, computers, tablets, internet time, and video games. Call it something creative like Eco-Day or something. During this time let them find ways to entertain themselves. Chances are books are going to be one of the first things that come to mind.
10. Don’t force it.
Just like food, don’t do ‘force reading’. If you do, reading will be associated with bad memories. So be patient and persistent in your plan. Some people are readers, others are not. Let your child find the right moment for their love for books. It’ll happen – just keep encouraging.
11. Talk about it.
Asking questions before, during and after reading helps your child make good connections and increase their reading skills. Depending on your child’s age, encourage a discussion with them about the story, book etc they’ve read.
12. Make books come alive.
Chose an area within your house and make it a place where books come alive. Even if it’s a made up tent in the corner of your child’s bedroom, use that space to your advantage. Make a space where if you’re inside it, you’re no longer yourselves. Choose to be characters from the book. Reading becomes role-play, and the story is now out of the pages and alive. Make reading as entertaining as possible.
13. Enter competitions.
Competitions are a great way to get children into reading and writing. Get your child involved in this short story (500 words) competition and let their imaginations take over.
By Abu Maryam
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