As a parent, I bet you all have a bullet point list of the things you would love your child to do. You want them to be enthusiastic about those activities that you can predict will help them in the future.
However, it seems like reading is becoming an increasingly less popular habit.
How did that happen?
Well, one of the reasons is of course the increase of stimuli that makes books a less attractive option. Social media, laptop devices, mobiles phones or streaming platforms are some examples of that, as they require none or very low engagement.
However, that’s not all. We want to get children reading, but they are under constant pressure to do so, and it can ruin the joy of this great activity.
How many of you loved reading in your free time but found the required reading books as homework?
So, as parents, you shouldn’t be forcing the situation. It’s really simple. Just sit down and read with your child. Keep it light and fun, that’s it!
In the words of Nancy Carlsson-Paige, the author of Taking Back Childhood “if we treat books like they are magical, kids will grow up believing that too”. But if we force them to read, they will start having a negative feeling towards books.
- Swap a traditional book for an audiobook
Yes. Audiobooks count as reading. And if your children are too energetic to sit down and read a book, this could be a great alternative.
When you listen to a book, you have to remember a lot of things, including the different characters and also the main plot and any subplots throughout the story.
There are a lot of platforms like audible where you can find a great catalogue of children’s books.
- Surround your kids by books
Children learn from adults, so teach them good habits by introducing them in their routine. If you have reluctant readers at home, make the effort to exercise the reading habit yourself. If you want to raise a reader, be a reader. Talk to them about the book and show excitement about the story and the characters.
- Try to find book-inspired activities to do with your children
Find fun book-inspired activities so they can engagingly experience the book. Dress up as the book characters, go on a bookcation…. Are you reading a book about the beach? Visit the seaside!
- Read the book then watch the movie
When you’re finished reading the book, host a family movie night to watch the film version. It’s a great way to make them relate books with entertainment!
Also, they will be looking forward to the next movie night, so they will be more willing to read.
- Leave books around the house
Kids will get used to exploring the titles of the books. Stash them around the house in accessible areas for them (even on the floor!). Don’t keep them on shelves, let the kids touch them, carry them around!
- Read aloud
Reading aloud gives it the value of a social and educational activity. It also helps children who get easily distracted when reading in silence to engage with the story and the characters.
- Ask questions
But keep it casual. Again, we don’t want them to feel that books are homework. Just ask them about the characters, the storyline and the meaning of the book.
Don’t be specific! Let them choose their own answers.
- Remind them it’s a treat
Allow them to read in bed, on the couch, at the beach… Remind them that reading is a treat and a privilege.
- Start with baby books
You may think books are not necessary until your baby learns at least how to walk, but not so. Every child at every age benefits from the experience of reading stories. Read out loud, use texturised books… It may seem like babies are not listening, but they are absorbing the experience.
- Consider a variety of genres
Kids often gravitate towards the fiction shelves in the library, but fiction doesn’t have to be the one for every child. Consider other types such as cookbooks, graphic novels, art books… Your child might find another genre more appealing than fiction.
Let us know how this goes!