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How to Encourage Your Child to Read

Updated on April 10, 2015
Natural Curiosity of Children
Natural Curiosity of Children
My Book loving son on his race bike
My Book loving son on his race bike

I am a lifelong reader and believe that reading is a wonderful joy and habit that we should all develop.

I love reading in the silence of the night, curling up in the early morning, getting involved in the deliciousness of the plot, and immersing myself in the adventure, or exploration of the story.

Yes, reading does improve your education however, reading is more than a means to an end, reading is an end in itself! It is fun, it is relaxing, it is a time of peace.

How to encourage your Child's passion for reading?

Reading is an integral part of our lives, from giving comfort when we are young, to firing our imagination, ensuring our success in school and later, in our careers and how we choose to expand our knowledge and how we choose to relax.

It helps us to grow as individuals, either by opening new avenues of information, broadening our intellect or allowing us to step into someone else’s shoes and experience life through their eyes.

Reading can engender compassion and empathy, as well as give us pure enjoyment and relaxation.

I read a great deal to my son as he was growing up, and spent a small fortune on the books he enjoyed reading.

He lived by the motto - “You are never alone with a book” and consequently was never without one! Nowadays he downloads either Kindle or iBooks and uses his iPhone or iPad as a reader.

He has raced motorbikes and lately cars on track, he's doing Honours in B.Com Finance and being a total extrovert, with a quick wit, draws people to him like a magnet.

Thought I would just mention my son, to assure you that creating a passion for reading and a love of books in your child will not make them a dork or introvert. Books won’t do that, rather the reverse, if genes decree it so.

Instilling a love of reading in your child is one of the greatest gifts you can give them.

As they are growing up and start feeling unsure of themselves, and have a few wobblies - the right books can show they are the same as other children of their age, also if they books are principled - show him the right way to go, and how to behave in certain situations.

Tips on How to Read to Your Children

Here are some ways to grow the passion for reading.

  • Read to them regularly when they are young. Read with expression and in different 'voices’ to keep them fascinated. Hardcover books are the best at this age so that they can look at the illustrations and use their imaginations to see the story.
  • Make reading a lighthearted, fun time of bonding between you. Make it something your child looks forward to each day as part of their routine.
  • Be the model they copy: Let your child see you read often, it can be cookbooks, magazines, the newspaper, novels or your iPad.
  • Talk about the books or articles you have been reading. The joy, the thoughts it provoked, the laughs it drew, the excitement or intrigue into which you were drawn as you read the story. This is a terrific ‘share experiences’ time and could be discussed at dinner, or on a walk, or quiet time together.
  • Buy personalised books or books in which their own name appears - this is a fabulous technique for encouraging reluctant young readers.
  • Find books that come with a CD either in bookstores or online. This helps your child to listen and follow the story in the book. A way to encourage reluctant readers and keep the motivation high for children who are struggling with learning how to read.
  • Always give exceptional books as at least one part of a birthday, Christmas or holiday gift. Showing you value books and appreciate what they can impart if allowed to be a respected member of family life.
  • Give books ‘just because’. A book should become a necessary part of life, as is eating or sleeping. If they complain they haven’t gotten anything to read, express horror’ to younger children and try to rectify it - plan to take them later that day or tomorrow afternoon to chose another. This will reinforce the importance of books in their minds.
  • If your child is older, put them online with Amazon and ask them to put books on their ‘Wish List.’ Peruse the list together and discuss why you think a book is not appropriate, interesting etc., before downloading suitable books for them to read.
  • Take your children to a bookstore such as Barnes & Noble and let them browse in the kiddies corner - ask them to show you what interests them. When you are finished browsing, decide what will come home with you and what will be downloaded.
  • Read books that have been made into movies aloud, watch the movie and compare one to the other and discuss which was better, and why. Usually, there is more detail in the book. ‘The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe” comes to mind.
  • Young children up to the age of around 12 years, still need and enjoy the tactile feel of books. They love to look at the pictures, feel the cover, flip back and forth, compare pictures etc., all of which teaches them to love books. If the distance is a problem, order the hard copy online and let Amazon deliver it to you.
  • Explain to children that some books can be easily read digitally; however, there are some books that truly must just be bought, e.g. picture rich books, coffee table books to name but a few.
  • In this digital age, teenagers may be reluctant to read - perhaps you could encourage them by buying a Kindle. Alternately, splash out if they are older, responsible and buy them an iPad which has everything. Remind them it has a calendar, so they won’t forget their assignments and a GPS to find their way home!

Do you love reading? How did the adults in your life encourage your passion for reading?

Reading Suggestions for Teenagers

Find an amazing book, with a character you love, doing things that excite you or give you joy. Immerse yourself in the world of the story, when time disappears and nothing else exists but your book!

Really popular books that I know teens or some pre-teen kids have enjoyed recently include:

  • The Twilight series, (also a movie or series on TV)
  • Inkheart,
  • Bridge to Terabithia,
  • Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants (also a Movie)
  • Eragon
  • Harry Potter set of books
  • Terry Pratchett's Discworld - start with the Colour of Magic
  • Watership Down
  • Xanth Fantasy Series by Piers Anthony
  • The Chronicles of Narnia - also a movie
  • The Giver
  • The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings

© 2012 Shelley Watson


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    • CyberShelley profile imageAUTHOR

      Shelley Watson 

      5 years ago

      DDE Thank you for the visit and useful comment. I appreciate it.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      5 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      How to Encourage Your Child to Read hmm interesting and useful points here children definitely require such encouragement in reading sometimes children can be lazy or not interested in reading you pointed out helpful ways.


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