Children who read more will do better in school, and children who love to read will read more. So, for those of you wanting to help your children grow to love the world of books, here are 10 Ways to Get Kids Reading that I have found helpful (both from the experts and my own experience).
In my younger days, I was a reading buddy—i.e. a literacy tutor—to a third grade boy who, to put it mildly, did not like to read. As someone who would not know what to do without books, I took this as a personal challenge.
How could I get this eight year old to appreciate reading as much as he should? The first thing I did when I left that day was to search for tips on instilling the love of literature in children. Let me tell you, they exist and I have come up with some good tips below to get kids reading!
1. Start early
I am not the only one who thinks this, so does children’s author, Allan Ahlberg. He, who has sold over 17 million books, gives us a piece of advice: “The key to fostering a love of reading in a child is to start early.” It makes sense. Don’t wait until your child already dislikes reading. Get to them before they form an opinion.
2. Have a regular reading time
Life is always better—to me at least—when there is a schedule. Don’t think that this is just for us adults either. This is the reason that discipline works. Kids like consistency. So, give them some and have a regular time set aside for reading every day. This will definitely get your kids reading on a daily basis. Once it gets to be part of the routine, it won’t be that annoying thing that takes them away from the TV.
3. Let them see you reading
On one very long car ride, my family and I were headed to Cape Cod from Montreal with my cousins. There were 12 of us in multiple cars of course. Leading the caravan were my parents, my 1 year-old cousin, and a 12-year-old me. I chose the supposedly quiet car for one reason so I could read. This did not happen.
As it turns out, baby France knew very few words, but one of the few was “book”. So, for 6 straight hours, she watched me try to read as she continued to beg me to give the book to her…Why? Because to a one year old (though maybe not to anyone else), I was cool. If her cool cousin loved to read, then reading must be for her. Kids are like that! So, parents, practice what you preach. If you want your kid to read more, you read more.
4. Read with your kids
Yes parents, they do think you are awesome and they want to spend time with you. Bonus, in turn, you get to spend time with them.
Another fun way to get kids reading is by making a reading trip to the movies. If a child loves to watch TV, go to the movies, play video games, then doesn’t it make sense to bring those loves into books? All the themes are there; just add crazy voices and special effects. Then, let your child read to you and go crazy over all of their dramatic effects. Hollywood, meet our home!
6. Read the book before you watch the movie (together)
What better way to spend time together and to find reading fun, than to do this. It makes great talking points when you are done such as:
- What was your favourite part x2?
- They shouldn’t have changed that part. The book was better.
- That isn’t what I imagined the main character to look like
Assuming you pick a book/movie that your child is going to like (which is a big point of the whole project) then they are going to see that not all books have to be stuffy historical accounts (which I personally love, but tend not to appeal to kindergarteners); they can be gory thrillers, sappy romances, crime fighting adventures, whatever they want.
7. Let them pick the books
Wouldn’t you be more into a book you picked out for yourself because you thought it sounded good?
8. Have a library or bookstore adventure
I am about to give you some advice straight from Oprah, so you know it must be good: “Make a big deal about getting your library card!” Plus, if you have a dresser-upper, what better pretend credit card to put into a purse, and then the child will actually be able to use it outside of the house to get stuff. Just like a big kid. A shopping trip to a bookstore lets them see the magnitude of books available to them!
9. Extend bedtime
When I was young, my parents extended my bedtime hours on Friday and Saturday evenings so that I got to stay up late. What did I do on those special nights, you ask? Why, I did Hooked on Phonics, of course. Let me tell you something from someone who has never liked going to bed at normal hours, any excuse to get out of going to bed is a good excuse. Use these words to your advantage to get your kids reading.
10. Give books as Gifts
Treating books like presents creates the sense that they are presents and who doesn’t love that?
I hope you found helpful my 10 Ways to Get Kids Reading! Have fun reading with your kids and they will want to read books even more!