The Ultimate Guide to Ignite a Passion for Reading in Your Child at Every Stage
Cultivating a love for reading in children is one of the greatest gifts parents can give. The benefits are countless; it improves their vocabulary, understanding of the world, and cognitive function, and can also be a great source of entertainment.
My number one tip for any parent is to fill the house with books and reading material. Children take their cues from parents and will be more inclined to be interested in reading if they see you actively enjoying reading.
E-books are wonderful! But children need to see plenty of physical books around them to make reading an everyday part of life.
When I was teaching my children to read, the hot tip I was given was to leave books lying around in all corners of the house. A disinterested child is more likely to have their curiosity piqued by a book in the toilet, on the coffee table or on the bathroom bench than if they are asked to sit down and read with a parent.
Here are some more useful tips on how to get your child interested in reading at any age!
Create a space to read. Somewhere cosy with good lighting, adjacent to family life. It could be a corner of the family room or a cubby space in your child's bedroom. It should be a space where your child can have a little peace, but not so far away from the bustle of the family that they won't think about retreating there.
This is the phase when children's imaginations are at their peak. Here's how you can capitalize on this:
Make reading a routine: Just as you have a routine for meals and bedtime, make reading a part of your child's daily activities. This consistent reading time will be something they start to look forward to each day.
Choose colourful and interactive books: At this age, children are more likely to be attracted to books with lots of colourful pictures and interactive elements. Pop-up books, lift-the-flap books, and touch-and-feel books can all be excellent choices.
Read aloud and make it fun: Don't just read the words; make it a performance. Use different voices for different characters, and don't hesitate to be dramatic! It can make the reading experience enjoyable and memorable for your child.
As children get older, their reading skills will develop, and they can start to take on more text-heavy books. Here's how you can foster a reading habit during this period:
Provide access to a variety of books: Offering a range of books allows children to explore different genres, topics, and writing styles. This variety can help them discover what type of books they enjoy the most.
Let them choose their own books: While it's important to guide children towards age-appropriate books, it's equally important to give them the freedom to choose what they want to read. This can give them a sense of ownership and make reading more enjoyable.
Connect books with their interests: If your child loves dinosaurs, find books about dinosaurs. If they love sports, look for sports-themed books. This can help to increase their engagement with reading.
With the demands of academic studies, high schoolers might see reading as a chore. Here's how to combat that:
Encourage reading beyond textbooks: Even though academic demands increase during high school, it's important to encourage reading that is not connected to school work. This can help students see reading as a relaxing activity rather than another task.
Recommend books with relatable themes: Adolescents often grapple with complex emotions and experiences. Books dealing with themes of identity, relationships, and self-discovery can be particularly appealing to them.
Initiate discussions about books: Discussing books can deepen your teenager's understanding and interest. Talk about characters, plot, themes, and even the author's writing style. You can also encourage them to join or start a book club to have these discussions with peers.
Cultivating a love for reading in children is not an overnight process. It needs patience, time, and the right approach. But the payoff is well worth it. So start today and happy reading!