6 Creative Ways to Encourage Your Kids to Start Reading
by Samantha Higgins
If you are interested in developing your child’s literacy skills, you may want to consider creative ways they will enjoy reading. Children need various opportunities to practice and enjoy their newfound talent to develop strong reading skills and a love for reading.
Some parents prefer explicit teaching methods, while others believe that allowing kids to explore independently is the best way to encourage them. Whatever method you believe is best for your child, these six strategies should help increase their excitement for books. Discussed below are some creative ways to encourage the kids to start reading.
1. Use Books You Love
When it comes to encouraging your child to develop a love for reading, nothing is more important than the books you choose to read with them. The best way to introduce children to reading is through using books you love.
While it’s always a good idea for parents and teachers alike to familiarize themselves with excellent children’s literature, it’s vital that you also make sure that what you’re reading with your young reader is age-appropriate. Your child will learn to love reading if you let them choose their books.
2. Begin a Reading Challenge
Another fun way to get kids excited about reading is by creating a challenge. Let them create a list of their favorite books and pick a book from that list to read with them each day. After reading the book, ask your child about their favorite part or character.
Did they like it when so-and-so got in trouble? Did they think this character was funny? Consider having your child rate their book from one to five stars after each reading session. You may also reward them with a small reward for their effort, like a piece of candy or some extra time to play video games.
3. Check a Book Before You Purchase It
When purchasing books for your child, remember to check them out in bookstores or borrow them from the library before you purchase. Some children find it difficult to read books that are too advanced for them, so by finding out how much your child can read and comparing it with the age range of their book, you can make sure they’ll be able to manage their reading level.
Also, check whether it is on the children’s banned books list. Books may get banned for various reasons, like cursing and inappropriate illustrations. Others may have pictures that may be violent, frightening, or too explicit. Purchasing an interesting book for your child is one of the best ways to encourage your child to read.
4. Make Reading Fun
The best way to ensure your child will want to read is by having fun with it. Make reading a game and let them pick the game they will participate in while they are doing it. Make a game out of reading a book by giving your child a prize each time they finish one. If you have several children, you can have them play a game where they compete to get the most books read during their free time.
Another great way to make reading more fun is by making up stories together. If your child has a book about pirates, you can make up a story about the pirate who stole a treasure map from another pirate. This will be far more fun than the book and encourage your child to read more.
5. Read With Them
When initiating reading time, start small by simply reading aloud with your child every night before bedtime. Reading aloud with your child every night is a great way to show them how much you love reading.
The more you read to your child, the more interested they will be in reading. You’ll also find that this can help children fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer, as reading releases feel-good hormones into the body while they read.
6. Let Them Read Anywhere
Another great way to encourage your kids to read more is by letting them carry a book around with them wherever they go. If they like to play in the sandbox, let them read in the sandbox.
If they like to go out for a walk, let them carry a book with them and read it while you’re walking. This will encourage your child to read, play outside more often, and get fresh air. Look for small books that fit in their pockets and are light enough to carry around.
To encourage children to read, you’ll want to pick a series of books they will love. Use these tips to create an environment that allows your child to enjoy reading as much as possible.
Samantha Higgins is a professional writer with a passion for research, observation, and innovation. She is nurturing a growing family of twin boys in Portland, Oregon with her husband. She loves kayaking and reading creative non-fiction.