How To Get Your Child To Love Reading

Every parent wants to raise a reader. A child who will love reading, pick books over screen time and knowledge over entertainment. Which parent hasn’t dreamed of showing off a child who is an avid reader? I certainly have. Yet, in a world full of digital nannies, distractions and technology, reading has slipped down a few spots on the list of popular child hobbies. But with a little effort and creativity, you can get your child to love books, again.

1. Start them young

It’s never too early to introduce your child to books. Long before children become readers, they are listeners who enjoy being read to. Making reading a part of your child’s daily routine has immense benefits. From doubling up as bonding time and quiet time and opening a world of imagination to your little one, reading to babies is enjoyable and beneficial. Even newborns benefit from being read to, so you don’t have to wait till they’re older.  And if you make it a part of their routine from day one, it’ll be easier to continue that pattern as they grow older. With toddlers, leave books at their level, so they can pick them up easily, instead of stacking them high on a shelf, out of sight. Leave them around in the family room, or even on the kitchen counter where they can enjoy a book as you get dinner ready. Carry a couple of books in your car for long drives and light ones in your bag to entertain your child while waiting at appointments. 

2. Pick age-appropriate books

This is crucial to your child enjoying books; picking up a book that is age-appropriate and attuned to their level. Curate a collection that captures their interest and include books that have themes they like and are familiar with. Young children might prefer “lift the flap” and touch and feel books, older ones might enjoy books with fantasy and animal characters.  Do your research and look for recommendations that’ll suit your child’s age, interests and reading level. 

3. Read the same books over and over again

You might already be doing this because your child has a favourite book they want to read over and over again. Far from becoming boring for your child, reading the same book many times can help them develop pre-reading skills. Rhyming sentences can introduce them to the concept of phonics and they can also begin to associate pictures with words. My favourite part of doing this with my children is pausing at the end of sentences and letting them complete the lines. And at times, my kids can “read” the whole book without me, just from memory.

4. Library and bookstore visits

Libraries might be dwindling in numbers which is all the reason why we need to take our kids there. Get your child a library membership and turn your library visits into fun outings. Many libraries offer and organise exciting book-related events for members that your child can benefit from. If you can’t find a library close enough, take them to bookstores in your locality. Many stores also offer pre-loved books that come at lower prices but with the equal charm of new books. Libraries and bookstores also expose your child to a wide variety of books and can help you understand what appeals to them. Next time you want to take your child on an outing, try the bookstore. 

5. Make it enjoyable

There seems to be increasing pressure on getting our children to read. And all this chaos can overshadow the joy and pleasure of reading. It can become more of a chore than a hobby. Books are meant to entertain and educate. So keep them light and fun that will make your child laugh and smile. Like Dr Suess says “ you can find magic wherever you look, sit back and relax, all you need is a book”. Pick books that will transport your child to magical lands, full of mystery and wonder that leave them in awe. A little tried and tested tip is to also make a cozy little reading nook for your child. An inviting space with a shelf of interesting books is more likely to capture their attention. Also, if your kids get screen time, once you’ve read the book, watch the movie together. Watch how excited they’ll be to witness familiar characters come to life. Ferdinand or Jungle book anyone?

6. Enjoy reading yourself

Like almost every other behaviour young children pick up, they can also learn to love books when they see their parents enjoying books themselves. So when you aren’t reading to your child, let your child see plenty of you spending time reading a book. If you’ve long forgotten the joy of reading and making time for it in your busy schedule, show your child how you make the time and effort for a good book.  When children see that parents pick books for entertainment, they’ll pick cues of how to spend their time too. You can’t raise a reader without being one. 

 With increasing awareness of the importance of reading, it can be easy to fall under pressure to get your child to read. But remember that reading should be associated with relaxation, enjoyment and wonder for children to truly love reading. Make little changes and keep it fun for both you and your child.

If you have concerns over your child’s reading or developing age-appropriate reading skills, talk to our specialists at Tactopus to understand how you can help your child. 

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