There are numerous ways to encourage children to read. With some thought, planning, and imagination, reading sessions can be entertaining and fun.
Parents want their children to read fluently and confidently and with good reason. We are in the information age and although our dependence on technology grows day by day, reading, and writing are more important than ever.
When thinking of ways to encourage children to read, it is important to look at the media that children actually enjoy. They love videos, video games, music, and films. So, what are the elements of these media that attracts them? Children enjoy visual and aural stimulation, competition, interactivity, and drama. If these were incorporated into the reading activity, might they not capture a child’s interest?
When reading to a child, parents can begin by making sure they choose a book that the child might find interesting. If a child has an interest in cars and trucks, look for a book about a toy car’s adventure or, if the child is older, even a colorful, factual book about cars. If your child loves dolls, what about finding a book about dolls or fairies or mermaids? It is a good idea to take your child with you to the bookshop, online book store or library so that they can choose their own book. Playing on their interests is one of the ways to encourage children to read.
Sometimes parents reject a book that their child has selected as being too easy or too hard but the child has chosen the book for a reason of their own and when looking for ways to encourage children to read, it is essential that the child’s opinions are taken seriously. It may be that they are simply attracted by the pictures and graphics. If you think the book is too difficult for the child to understand, you can still make a good reading session with material that you might consider is not at the right level. Talk about and explain the pictures. For example, if the book is about wild animals describe how different animals have particular colorings and patterns on their skin or fur which helps them blend into their environment and that this helps them survive. Talk about where they live, how they look after their young and, perhaps for older children, discuss whether it is a good idea to keep some animals in zoos.
The child might be interested in seeing the word that names the animal and parents can occasionally point out the word. If this is done in a funny or exciting manner, it might stir the child’s interest in finding the word for himself. For older children, read some parts of the text together. If your child does not know a word, give him the opportunity to sound it out but if that is difficult, just tell him the word. Try not to interrupt the fun and understanding of the piece with too much emphasis on getting every single word right. The way to encourage children to read is to provide a stress-free, supportive reading environment.
Introduce action. For example, if the book is about vehicles, why not make a drawing of two cars and encourage your child to paint the drawings? Stick the finished paintings on a piece of card and cut them out. Pile up some small boxes and plastic tubs to make rough terrain. Let your child have one car and you take the other than see whose car can drive over the boxes and tubs the fastest. Encouraging children to read means introducing a strong entertainment factor and action usually means fun.
If the book is about wild animals, pretend you are one animal and the child is another and then play a game of who can run around the living room the quickest. You can introduce drama and excitement by making up a story about swimming across a fast-flowing river (the sofa) or climbing up a high mountain (the dining chair) and so on.
The key is for children to enjoy what is being read to them (Benefits of reading Story Books To Children) or what they are trying to read themselves. Like adults, they have their own likes and dislikes, and whilst these will change over time, their current interests should be given serious consideration when selecting reading material. The presentation of the material should be done in an exciting and entertaining way. Action is important to bring stories alive. Children’s expression of their opinions and thoughts should be encouraged. These factors will help make the association, in the child’s mind, between books and fun.