There is no doubt that reading brings multiple benefits to your child in both the short and long term. Reading helps with your child’s concentration ability, language development, their critical thinking, their imagination, and understanding of the world.
Almost every parent wants their child to be an avid page turner.
Unfortunately, while some children are naturally born bookworms, others look at books like another boring chore.
As a parent, your job is to make reading time fun and exciting for your child. If you’re looking for ideas to nurture the love of books and reading in your child, here are five tips that we have learned from other parents and kids, and applied with success 🙂
1. Make it part of a routine
One of the first things you can do to make your kid fall in love with the reading time is to make it part of a routine in your family life. Spare 20 minutes to read together before bedtime every day, for example. After a while, it will become a habit. Your kid will go to bed every day expecting to read a book or listen to it.
Even if you can’t join your child in their bookish time every day, don’t make that a reason to skip it altogether. Pick a time you most likely can, and stick to it. For example, read with them every Saturday morning. As soon as you wake up, build a pillow fort, and gather and read together for an hour or so before starting other activities.
Making the reading time part of your routines show your kid that you prioritize it. The child will treasure the experience of reading with you more, knowing how you actively make time to do it with them.
2.Express your excitement about reading
When you love doing something and show your passion for it, you send the energy and the excitement to everyone around you and inspire them.
The same applies to reading. As you make it a point in your schedule, write it out on the family activity board or calendar and let your kids see it. Seeing “Bookish adventures with Lisa <3” will let Lisa know you are excited about spending time reading with her. That makes her anticipatory, too.
Also, it also helps to be a role model. Show your love for books outside of the designated time. Discuss books you are reading or you’ve heard of during dinner. Ask questions about what your kid and your partner are reading. Ask them what they like or what they do not like about it, and how they predict the story will develop.
It doesn’t matter if your child doesn’t read the book or participate in the conversations. The key is to let them see how much you enjoy reading yourself, and how you can’t wait till the reading time.
3. Create a cool reading area
To trigger the love for reading in your kid, work with them to create a special reading area. Make that corner under the stairs a reading nook. Decorate it with posters and adorable objects. Set up some cute pendants or floor lamps to light the area up and set the mood for reading.
You can re-decorate the reading corner with the help of your child to get a refreshed environment every once in a while. The key is to let them have an opinion on how to arrange the place and work on it with you. If it’s somewhat personalized to their taste and they have contributed to building it, the reading corner will be a place you kid loves to come to.
You can also be creative and change your reading area occasionally too. Set up that tent in your living room, bring some pillows and some book lights. Make a pillow fort on your bed. Set up some hammocks under the trees in your garden and enjoy some cakes while you read. What kid can resist such fun time!
4. Let your child decide how and what to read
When they first learn how to read by themselves, your kid will benefit a lot from your guidance. However, as time goes on, they will become more independent in their reading time. The best a parent can do is to value the child’s opinion, let them explore and decide what is best for themselves.
Let your kid decide how they read. Be patient if they spend more time on a page than you expect them to. If they prefer reading while lying in bed than sitting at a table, get them some supporting pillows. If they’re tech-savvy and show more interest in your iPad than physical books, try getting them read on an electronic device. It’s not too difficult to find good ebook readers that are kid-friendly, waterproof, with built-in dictionaries and bundles of children books!
Never force them to read what they do not want to, even if you think the books are more informational and interesting. If your kid decides pirates are more interesting than the stars, respect their choice. Forcing them is the best recipe for making your child hate reading, especially in the early years of their life. Also, we won’t want to narrow our kids’ potential fields of interests down to only what we’re aware of.
Instead, encourage them to try on new topics and genres. Their reading time will always be a pleasant adventure!
5. Make it “clubbing time” 🙂
When my niece was about four years old, she loved to have her cousins over so I could read some stories to them multiple times, and they would act the story out. She assigned herself the director and instructed the cousins on their parts. Her reading time was so much fun for all of us! My niece is now 8, and an avid reader.
If your kid hasn’t initiated their own reading club, you can start one by casually introducing some fascinating books to them during their play time together. If the mini club works well, develop a slightly bigger one with their schoolmates or in the neighborhood. You may want to design mini book sharing events and reading activities for the kids. Have your child write cards to invite other friends – it will be so much fun for them!
There are a thousand ways to make reading time a highlight of the day for your child. Apart from planning fun activities for the designated time, efforts should be made at all time to get them exposed to an environment where reading and learning is everyone’s favorite activity. It will make them feel that their own reading time is a privilege and a joy. Because it really is.
Anitya is a full-time nooblogger from Hooked To Books, a blog dedicated to book and reading gadget reviews. She aspires to make the reading time the highlight of the day for everyone by sharing her reading tips, introducing interesting books, and reviewing gadgets that provide comfort and enhance reading efficiency. Check out her latest article here.