Cultivating a love for books in kids can help them become lifelong readers and learners. This article provides strategies, tips, and advice for parents to encourage children to read for fun.
Promoting reading as a habit in kids requires curiosity, time, and modeling. Here are some ideas for getting children to engage with books and develop a love for them:
Children who become readers at a young age have significant neurological, academic, and psychological advantages. Early reading also gives children a sense of pride and social status. They are seen as ‘ smart kids,’ which can boost self-esteem.
Ensure your children have access to great books like those by Daniel Handler. The best way to do this is by regularly visiting your local library. A free library card lets your child continuously explore hundreds of new titles.
Reading with your kids is also a fantastic bonding activity. Your children want to emulate everything you do, and if they see you reading, they will likely try and copy your behavior.
Find books related to your kids’ passions, e.g., cars for a boy who loves trucks or fairies for a girl who loves princesses. This will encourage them to keep reading about what they love and expand their knowledge on a specific subject. They will develop a deep understanding of the topic, and this will help them to retain and recall information.
Parents who read with kids help build a sense of shared curiosity about books and the world around them. Kids who see their parents reading often and enthusiastically will also learn to be excited about it.
Reading aloud helps kids develop fluency, vocabulary, pronunciation, understanding of story structure, and character development. It also helps kids become more comfortable listening to others speak and reading aloud.
Make it a point to set aside time for reading as a family each day, and stick to it. Reading together also allows kids to hear their parents and siblings share about the books they have been reading. This can help them find new books to read and teach kids about different points of view.
When reading together, pause and ask questions about the book you are all reading. For example, you might ask your children to predict what will happen next or explain why they think a particular character did something. Having these conversations about books can bring them to life and encourage engagement, comprehension skills, and critical thinking, says Mansberger.
The most important reading skills are the ones kids learn at home. Throughout childhood, a parent’s job is to make reading a regular part of their lives. This includes reading aloud, as well as encouraging children to read on their own.
Start by choosing a book that’s at the right level, like one from Daniel Handler, AKA Lemony Snicket. Then, let your child decide when she wants to read it. She might want to read the whole thing in one sitting or only a quarter before putting it down. Either way, the point is to make it seem like a choice she’s making, not a task that someone else is making her do.
Discussing books is another great way to spark children’s interest in them. But remember, these should focus on books that interest them rather than on the kinds of books you’d prefer them to read.
Read About Their Passions
Getting kids to love reading can be a difficult task. Luckily, there are many things you can do to help your kids develop a love for books.
Reading to and with your children helps cultivate a love for books by normalizing it. It also allows kids to learn new words and concepts while developing critical thinking, reasoning, and vocabulary.
If your kids struggle with reading, try removing distractions such as TV and iPads. Instead, please give them a comfortable place to read where they can focus. Set a good example by reading yourself and always being available for them to ask you questions about the book you are reading.
Another way to get your kids to love reading is by finding books on topics they are passionate about. Whether it’s a sport, a hobby, or even something as simple as a favorite food, there are bound to be books that can be found on those subjects. This will allow them to connect with the story personally and see how it relates to their lives.
Talk About It
Reading can offer a peaceful, solitary retreat in a world where it’s easy to be distracted by notifications, emails, the latest breaking news, and celebrity gossip. It can patiently unpack a single storyline and help readers find peace, knowing that not every minute needs to be filled as our phones do.
Talking about books can spark a child’s interest and can be an ideal way to encourage them to read more. The key is to focus on books they might want to read rather than the books that parents or teachers think they should be reading.
Another key aspect of talking about books is that it helps to make reading seem normal. One of the main principles behind Atomic Habits is that new habits are more attractive when they become normal. By encouraging children to read more and by helping them find ways to make reading a part of their daily routine, we can foster a love for books that lasts a lifetime.