Encouraging children to read helps transform reading from a basic skill to a learned behavior and an intellectual habit. Educational experts agree that the more children read, the more they’ll enjoy it, and the better readers they’re likely to become. If you’re searching for ways to grow your child’s interest in the wonderful world of reading, here are some tips:
1. Read with your child.
You can’t start too early. You can’t read too much. Reading to young children nurtures an interest in language, words, and communication. For older kids, reading together can be fun and interesting. Consider reading one book together every month aloud. Take turns reading pages, chapters, or major sections of the book. As this activity becomes a routine, it will not only help develop your child’s reading skills, but it will also create a basis for ongoing dialogue and discussion.
2. Read together regularly.
It’s recommended that parents spend an average of an hour a week—or 10 to 15 minutes a day—reading with young readers. It establishes reading as a regular, daily habit.
3. Encourage your child to build his or her own library.
From stamps to comic books to autographs to baseball cards and stuffed animals, children have always been natural collectors. By encouraging book collecting and the creation of a personal library, you introduce your child to a world of resources. Help your child start his or her own library by including a visit to a local bookstore in your weekly or monthly shopping outings.
4. Search for reading activities on the Internet.
There are an abundance of great websites that provide reading lists for children. Visit Book Adventure, a free, interactive, motivational reading program. Students choose their own books from more than 7,000 titles, take short comprehension quizzes, and redeem their accumulated points for small prizes. Book Adventure also offers teacher and parent resources and tips to help children develop a lifelong love of reading.
5. Provide different kinds of general interest magazines for your child.
Children need to understand that there is more to a news event than the 30-second sound bite they hear on the television. Introduce your child to weekly and monthly general interest magazines. These publications explore news events in much greater detail through words and vivid photographs.
Read an article together, and help your child with difficult words or abstract concepts.
6. Visit your local library and introduce your child to the children’s librarian.
Almost every library has at least one librarian who is very knowledgeable about children’s literature. He or she can suggest book titles, guide your child through research projects and keep you informed regarding any special reading events that may be planned at the library or elsewhere in the community.
7. Get a riddle book at the library or bookstore.
Children enjoy riddles and jokes that rely on wordplay. Laughing together at clever jokes and riddles can make a Saturday trip to soccer or hockey practice more enjoyable and memorable.
8. Create a vocabulary game.
Compile a word list, or ask your children’s teacher for a word list, and make a daily or weekly vocabulary game on index cards. Whether your child is just learning how to read or is preparing for high school exams, seeing, saying, and learning new words is important.
9. Make a book.
Encourage your children to write original stories and illustrate them with their own drawings. It’s a great way to increase comfort and familiarity with words.
10. Learn new words on the road.
Use every new experience to introduce new words to your child. Every journey, trip, or vacation, regardless of the distance, introduces new ideas and objectives to your child and can increase his or her vocabulary.