Some kids love to read and some kids REALLY don’t – and it’s so super hard when often their first love is maybe a device screen and not an old-fashioned book. So, how can you get children interested in reading, you ask?
Here are 10 ways to help nurture and encourage kids to love books!
It’s a tricky time to try and encourage a love for books when everything else (school included) seems to be steering kids towards a digital device.
My suggestion is to regularly block time out of schedules for “no screen time”. Even if it’s just 30 minutes a day – those 30 minutes are specifically for reading, no distractions!
Even better, make screen-free reading time a family activity. Everyone grabs their book and hangs out on the couch to read. Sweet!
How to get children interested in reading in 10 steps
1. Start them young and make it routine
Start reading board books and picture books to your BABY. You might think it’s kind of pointless as they swat at pages and wriggle around your lap but reading will soon be established as a welcome, soothing part of the daily routine.
2. Make books fun
Toddlers love a bit of theatrics with reading. Make reading books an engaging, interactive experience – ask them questions about what they see on the page or what noises animals make.
If you choose books you know they’ll love (Spot!, Bluey!, The Wiggles!) you can be confident you’ll hold their interest in your reading sessions and they’ll ask for more (again and again x 100).
3. Be a superstar narrator
In those early years, the buck stops with you. For fun, add a reading crown or cape, put on your best reading voice and settle in for some great reading fun. It’ll soon be up there as a special highlight of your kid’s day – and likely yours too!
4. Let kids see the library is a fun place
Because it IS! There are often programs for kids of all ages that run through the school term and school holidays, which all celebrate books and nurture a love for reading. Librarians LOVE books (obviously) so they’re awesome people to let guide you in book selection too. They know what’s popular with the kids! Ask about baby and toddler sessions and junior book clubs.
5. Model the behaviour
You know what they say, monkey see, monkey do – and the same applies to reading. If your children see their parents picking up a book and enjoying the downtime with their nose stuck in a book, chances are your kids will do the same.
6. Let Kids Choose and Buy Books
Many schools take part in the Scholastic Book Club scheme. Give kids a budget and let them choose some books of their own accord for their home library. This is an awesome way to let them get excited over reading material PLUS, they’re ordering books they WANT to read.
7. Don’t be the book police
I used to get hung up on the fact that my kid wouldn’t read the novels that other kids in his class were reading, which caused a blanket ban on reading.
Thankfully, a teacher reminded me that reading ANYTHING is better than nothing. Turns out he loved to read car magazines, The Guinness World Records and eventually, The Treehouse series.
Baby steps friends, baby steps.
8. Build reading confidence
It’s really difficult for non-confident readers to keep up with the bookworms in their class. Their confidence can take a real beating and asking them to read is often met with walls of resistance.
EVERY bit of practice helps build those important foundations for future reading. I adore the ABC Reading Eggs program for easy-to-follow, fun reading lessons. Designed for kids aged 2 to 13, it’s reading reinforcement that can be done easily at home.
9. Make it a tradition to gift books
Give books as gifts. New babies, baby showers, birthdays and Christmas – let those gifts involve a book for kids of any age! You watch, they’ll soon expect and be excited for new books when Christmas rolls around.
10. Keep some books separate from the regular pack
Have a box of Christmas books, Easter books, birthday books that only make an appearance at particular times of the year.
You’ll be surprised how much kids look forward to reading these books and remember them from the year before. Each year buy a new book to add to the collection.
So there you go – how to get children interested in reading! It can take time, no doubt about it.
Read at your kids, read with your kids, listen to books being read together. Consider it exposure therapy – the more they’re exposed to books, the more likely kids are to pick them up and have a read! Consistency is key!