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How to Encourage Your Child to Read


happy father and daughter at sofa looking at digital tablet

Reading is one of the most valuable skills we can encourage in children. Fostering a passion for reading as a child serves as a solid foundation for a life-long love of reading. The pleasure of reading is in itself rewarding and as we all know, reading is the key to knowledge and opens doors to numerous opportunities and rewards.

So, how can you encourage your child to read? Different ages bring different challenges – for the younger children we must make it fun, for primary school children we want to foster autonomy, and for teenagers; reading can be a great escape and is critical for successful studying.

In this post, we offer effective ways to encourage reading in younger children and teenagers, so it becomes a life-long pleasure.

THE VALUE OF READING

The benefits of reading extend into all areas of our life. From relaxation and building confidence to better outcomes at school and work, there are many reasons to read and no reasons not to.

Here are just a few of the benefits of fostering a love of reading in your child:

  • Children who read regularly perform better academically
  • Reading grows empathy
  • It exercises the brain
  • Reading improves vocabulary and language skills
  • Promotes higher levels of creativity and imagination
  • Teaches children about the World and different cultures
  • Reading improves concentration
  • It supports cognitive development and improves memory
  • Reading improves social and interaction skills

WHY DOES MY CHILD HATE READING?

Not every child enjoys reading. Some common reasons children don’t like to read include:

  • They feel like reading is a chore
  • They have difficulty reading
  • They think reading is boring
  • They haven’t found the right books yet

If your child hates reading, try having an open, non-judgemental conversation with them about why they dislike it. If your child struggles to explain why, try asking if any of the reasons stated above could be issues.

If your child finds reading difficult it could simply be because they are not used to it and need to hone their reading skills. Consider whether they are trying to read unsuitable books for their level or whether they could have undiagnosed dyslexia or another type of learning difficulty.

If you suspect that dyslexia or other learning challenges could be holding your child back, speak to us at JK Educate. We have many years of experience working with and tutoring children with special educational needs. Find out more about our SEN services here.

FUN WAYS TO ENCOURAGE YOUR CHILD TO READ

By learning to make reading fun, young children are more likely to develop a love of reading, encouraging better reading habits and making learning easier.

Make reading a daily habit

Education experts recommend reading with your child every day. If this isn’t possible, as a minimum, read with them at least four times per week. Don’t shy away from re-reading books – just be sure they are ones that your child loves.

Be a reading role model

Read in front of your child regularly. Watching you read magazines, newspapers, and books shows your child that reading is important and enjoyable. Encourage your child to join you with his or her own book while you are reading.

Create a cosy reading space

Make a comfortable dedicated reading space with cushions, teddies to cosy up with and good lighting. Ensure it is a quiet space where they can relax, be comfortable and focus on their book.

Regular trips to the library

Weekly or bi-monthly visits to the library are a great way to expose your child to different books and genres and teach them how to select books they might enjoy.

Let your child pick what to read

This is critical. Don’t dictate what your child should read. Giving suggestions is useful but let them decide for themselves.

Reading moments in everyday life

From song lyrics and comic books to food menus and subtitles on the TV, words are everywhere. You can use TV subtitles as a way of negotiating reading time with your child – turn the sound down and the subtitles on – voila, TV and reading combined!

When out food shopping with young children, challenge them to find a word in the ingredients list of food packaging. Try out crosswords and word games like Scrabble, or ask your child to read instructions for a task that you can do together.

Book subscriptions

Children love getting mail and unwrapping gifts. A children’s book subscription is a clever way to get them excited about books.

The Willoughby Book Club has a 3-month children’s book subscription for £34.99

Hand Me Down Book Club gives second-hand books a new lease of life with their child subscriptions at £13.99 a month.

The Teatime Bookshop has subscriptions for different ages and genres, starting at £9.99 a month.

The Little Book Boutique has books just for children and subscriptions start at £16 a month.

HOW TO ENCOURAGE TEENAGERS TO READ

As older children need to read frequently for school they may lose the joy of reading for pleasure and think of it as a chore. Try these tips to reignite the joy of reading in your teen:

Graphic novels

There’s a lot happening in their lives and an easy-to-pick-up, illustrated, action-packed short novel grips their attention and is a great way to escape reality.

Remove the distractions

Mobile phones, tablets, TV, excessive noise and sibling activities make concentrating difficult at any age. At a minimum, agree with your teen that they put their mobile phone in another room when they read.

E-books and audiobooks

Audiobooks help children discover books that might otherwise be too difficult for them, increasing both vocabulary and comprehension skills. Reading on a Kindle or similar device allows your teen to access hundreds or thousands of books at any time. Try an e-book Amazon account with a book purchase each month to encourage choosing and reading new material regularly.

Discuss books

Make it a family habit to talk about the books that you and your children are reading. It’s a great dinner table topic that everyone can join in. After your child has finished a book, ask them about what happened and what they liked and disliked. This will enhance your teenager’s comprehension skills, and make reading a family activity.

Resist the urge to criticise

You may not like the vampire stories your teen reads but don’t voice that criticism. If you think magazines are inferior to novels, don’t share that opinion while your teen is reading a magazine. Be tolerant and encourage reading, whatever form that takes.

Books everywhere

Encourage your teenager to always have a book to hand – packed into weekend bags, taken on journeys, next to the bed, scattered on the coffee table. Place books in several rooms of your house so they’re easy to pick up on a whim. Gifting a Kindle or similar device to your teen will make this habit much easier.

We hope these tips have given you some effective ways to encourage reading in your child. If you are looking for advice regarding your child’s academic development, whether it be tutoring, SEN services or exam preparation, do not hesitate to get in touch. We are always happy to help.

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