Motivation to read decreases with age so if children do not enjoy reading when they are young then they are unlikely to do so when they are older.
What can you do at home to help inspire your child to read? Read on to find some tips and creative ways to get you started:
- Pay attention to what your child is interested in and encourage them to read books on those subjects.
- Set time aside every week for family reading night.
- Set time aside to read with your child every day. This could be included in to their bedtime routine, take turns to read out loud with younger children. As an added benefit you will get to share some quality time with your child.
- Make reading a part of daily life. Read road signs, recipes, directions etc. out loud.
- Make reading interactive, ask your child’s opinion on what they are reading.
- Ask older children to help younger ones with reading whether it siblings, cousins or neighbours. This activity will boost the confidence of older kids, as well as providing important practice for younger children.
- Set goals such as challenging your child to read three books over the half term.
- Spend at least an hour a week at the library. Or create your own library days, as a family decide what books will be in your reading list, set aside a couple of days to read and write book reviews on the books you have completed.
- Set an example! Seeing you read will encourage your child to do the same. Talk about what you are reading with your children, share what you find most interesting and explain why. Ask your kids to share what parts of their book they enjoy reading with you.
- Actively encourage children to read and congratulate them on their progress.
- Play games, you can play word games in the car/bus/walking. Each person takes it in turn to read as many words as they can from street signs, billboards, store names, shop displays etc. The player reads the words aloud as quickly as they can. It’s a fun exercise even though it’s not a book, it’s still getting kids to read.
- Go beyond books. Video games, multimedia software and even instant messaging provide non-stop reading opportunities. Try buying video game guides to your child’s favourite game and subscribe to video game tips magazines to encourage reading. Reading software programs can help with children who are struggling to read by using the text to speech software so the reader can hear what they are reading.
- Offer an incentive program where the amount of time reading adds up to another activity. This could be for every minute reading earns one minute of TV, or aim for a certain number of hours reading every month and then as a family choose an activity such as a picnic in the park, going the swimming baths, a family bike ride, go out to lunch etc. or you could allow your child to stay up an extra 30 minutes past bedtime as long as this time is spent reading.
Remember your child does not have to start reading books filled with text any reading will do! Comic books and graphic novels can be a great way to introduce reading to children who find pages and pages of text unexciting. Visual storytelling can enable children to read and understand concepts that they might find difficult without the help of images and illustrations. More importantly, reading comics is lots of fun!
Below are some tips to get your child interested in reading comics:
- Explore there is a wide range of comics available now for children, so you are sure to find something that interests your child.
- Magazines if your child finds the concept of a whole comic too daunting to begin with, ongoing magazines like The Beano and The Phoenix can be a great introduction to the world of comics. Both these magazines are published weekly and once your child has got to grips with this style they can explore the genre further.
- Visit the library as comics continue to become more popular, many libraries now have dedicated sections just for comics that your child can explore, you can even ask the librarian for any recommendations. Many bookshops also supply a good selection of comics.
- Make your own comic strip this is a great way to not only boost your reading skills but also you’re writing and storytelling skills. You can download a blank comic strip here to get you started!
- Know your child’s interests find one book that your child will fall in love with. You’ll be surprised how a child who normally doesn’t like to read will cling to a comic or graphic novel. They will finish reading it and want to read it over and over again.