Tips on How to Encourage Children to Read
Too Many Distractions to Focus on Reading
Parents are now facing challenges from computer games, PlayStation and other gadgets that made reading among children, a lost art. These distractions are giving parents real headaches. So, how do you encourage your children to read for pleasure?
Below are some ideas that might encourage the children to read, either for pleasure or for their school work. The aim is to get them excited about reading.
I have put my suggestions under various Age Groups as well as under General, for easy reference. Some of these ideas may be applicable to the other age groups as well.
How to Encourage Children to Read for Pleasure - From Pre-birth to 2 years old
- Start Early. It is never too early to start reading to your child. In fact, you can even start when you are still pregnant with a child. It may look weird talking alone to your tummy. Do not worry as your baby will be comforted and will remember that familiar voice. When your baby is born, and when you read to him, he will associate your voice to the quietening ambiance of the worm. Continue reading to your child after birth, progressing from just you, reading, to getting him to ask you a question.
- Read Bedtime Stories. Get into the habit of reading to your child at bedtime. Read them aloud. Reread his favorite books again and again. He will learn the story and will grasp the concept of reading. Not only will you be teaching him the pleasure of reading, but you are also bonding with your child.
- Get Your Child to Participate. When you read to him, get him to participate and be engaged in the story. Expose him to the many vocabularies in the story. As you read, ask him questions. For example, ask him what picture he saw in the book. Encourage him by saying 'Yes, that is right. It is a dog. A bulldog'. Ask him to repeat the word after you. This way, you are introducing a new word for him and by getting him to participate, it will build his confidence. This will be useful as he gets older, as he will find it easier to read later.
- Sing Songs or nursery rhymes that have repetitive words. Your child will be able to pick up and grasp these repetitive words easily and this will build up his vocabulary.
- Watch Playhouse Channel on Television. Although watching television is seen as not encouraging children to read, Disney's Playhouse Channel, however, is a good program that introduces some rich vocabulary to children. The many activities and colors will stimulate the young mind and encourage them to learn and read. My grandnieces (1.5 - 2 years old) are the classic examples of the benefits of watching this channel. It sometimes amazes us at their correct usage of words and their ability to identify and name an object. As a result of this, they are able to read simple storybooks. If you have the opportunity, you can also take them to see Playhouse live on stage.
Tips for Encouraging Kids to Read - For Preschoolers Ages 2-5
- Go on an Outing. Take your child to the bird park, the zoo, circus, shopping or anything that will excite him. Get books about these places and discuss with your child what he saw during these outings.
- Read the Menu. When you are eating at the restaurant or at his favorite food outlet, read the menu together. Describe the many choices and the prices for the items. This will encourage him to want to learn more.
- Label his Stuff. Get him to write his name on all his books and belongings. Get him to label his toys and any presents that he is giving.
- Visit the Library. Children enjoy storytelling and in most libraries this session is available. Check out your nearest bookshop, they sometimes do this as well. When you are at the library, let the kids choose the book to borrow.
- Reading to the Kids. Reading to the kids and with the kids, should be done on a regular basis. Some may choose at bedtime while others may choose after dinner. Whichever you prefer, make a point of doing this on a regular basis.
- Be a role model by letting your kids see you are reading for pleasure, for work, for research, for doing D.I.Y., for cooking, etc. This will reinforce in the child's mind that reading is important to get things done.
- Tablet. If you have a tablet such as iPad, download reading and educational software for kids such as Read Me Stories. Loan this tablet to your kids and let them have fun learning through this medium. Kids will have no problem understanding and using the tablet!
Ways to Encourage Reading Habits Among Children 6-12 years
- Get the Movie Book. If your kid enjoys a particular movie, get him the book
- Travel Destination. If you will be traveling, get the kids to read up on places of interest, things to do and any events at that destination.
- Hobbies. Get them to read about their hobbies or things that they like to do.
- Make Friends with other kids who enjoy reading for pleasure, should be encouraged.
- Visit Bookstores for any events like a book signing by authors
- Reading to Their Younger Brother or Sister Kids like to show off and reading to their younger brother, sister, neighbors or cousins, will boost their ego.
- Road Signs. Get them to read all the road signs, billboards and signage when you are out driving.
Encouraging Lifetime Reading Habits - For Teens
- Read Reviews. Encourage your teenage kids to read reviews of books, music, movies and even gadget & software before buying.
- Blogs. Get them to write their own blogs and read their friend's blogs. If they hate the idea of keeping a diary (which should be encouraged, initially) then ask them to put it in the form of a blog. You can also ask them to write reviews of movies, music, books or gadgets in their blog. You may want to encourage them to express their opinions by giving comments on blogs and on other approved websites.
- Keep books visible. Keep your books, newspapers or magazines in places that all your kids can see and use them.
- Subscription to a Magazine (that is approved by you) can be a reward for having achieved some agreed milestone.
- Have Fun by doing crossword puzzles or playing scrabble with your kids.
General Guideline to Cultivate a Love of Reading
- Share What Your Read. Share with your children the books, magazines or anything interesting that you just read. Tell them of your favorite books when you were young.
- Listen to Your Kids. When you are with your kids, listen to them and answer their questions. If you don't know the answer, check together on the net, or from the reference books that you have.
- Set a Good Example by reading books or magazines in front of your kids. If they see that you enjoyed them, they will follow suit.
- Fun Time. Reading may not necessarily be a serious activity. Read aloud riddles, funny stories or even jokes. This will show them that books can be funny besides giving information, tell stories, gives recipes and 'DIY info'. You can even ask them to compile a book of their favorite jokes.
- Never Force Them. Lastly, never force a child to do things that he dislikes, like finishing a book that he doesn't like.
Benefits of Children Reading at an Early Age
We all know the importance of a child able to read at an early age. But do you know what the benefits are? Listed below are some of its benefits.
- Speech Skills. A child is able to reinforce or form the basic sounds of a particular word by listening to your reading, Most of them will be able to talk at an earlier age.
- Grasp of Language. They will have a better grasp of the language and vocabulary. Hence, they will be able to express themselves better, resulting in better communication skills.
- Higher Aptitude for Learning. Children who are able to read at an early age will have a higher aptitude for learning and hopefully achieve academic excellence.
- Better Thinking Skills. From listening to your reading, or through the child's reading, he will be able to visualize the ideas and concepts behind the story. He will be able to relate the many incidents within the story and will come out with his conclusion. This ability to think and apply logic is an important asset for a child.
- Better Concentration. Reading to a child or a child reading by himself will results in a longer attention span, hence a better concentration and self-discipline.
- Reading is Fun and Not a Chore. Your child will learn that reading can be fun and is not a chore. Once he knows this, then given a choice of watching television or playing a computer game, your child, as he grows older, might choose to read instead.
Have Fun Reading with, and to Your Kids
I hope the suggestions on 'How to Encourage Children' are useful and will assist you in getting your child to read.
If in the past getting your kid to read has been a challenge, then start with one suggestion before moving to the next tip.
Have fun reading with, and to your kids.
Tips for Reading to Children
Bus 52 :Book Trail (see reader Amy's comment below)
© 2012 Mazlan