How To Get Your Child To Read

It can seem an impossible task to get children interested in reading. They have short attention spans and some school age children, particularly boys think that reading is boring. Throw in sport, homework and any number of electronic gadgets and sitting in the corner with a book can seem a particularly bad idea to them.

Our schools will teach kids the basics but it’s not enough in a world where reading is a vital skill. A recent study of primary school children in the US showed that in the period between the end of one term and the beginning of another, 80% of children did not show an improvement in literacy skills. This is because continued practice is the only way children can improve their reading skills.

So here are some suggestions:

  1. Make reading fun. For younger children you can set up a reading corner in their bedroom. Cushions on the floor, a blanket or a bean bag can be surrounded by reading material such as joke books, comic books, magazines and maps eg: a photocopied map of where you live.

dogglasses_400Remember it doesn’t matter what they read as long as they are reading.

  1. If it’s a battle to get your child away from the TV turn on your TVs closed caption function to display the text and then turn off the volume. This will activate multiple learning skills.
  1. Similarly for every hour of video game playing your child must read for an hour.

You can also create an environment where reading is a natural part of your life. Such as reading your child a couple of pages from a storybook before they go to sleep at night and by setting a good example, let your kids see you reading.

  1. Younger readers should be encouraged to read aloud, whether it’s to you or an audience of teddy-bears. Reading aloud also allows you to see how their reading skills are developing.
  1. Make a field trip to your local library to get a library card. In the lead up to visiting the library make it a special event.
  1. Let your child choose what book they might like to read. Older children may well only read the first few chapters before losing interest but this has more to do with limited concentration spans than not wanting to read. You may also find that they only read a part of some books until they find what they are interested in. Genres include adventure, ghost stories and fantasy novels.
  1. If you have an e-reader let your child read books on it. It doesn’t matter what they read after all as long as they are reading.
  1. Similarly if your 15 year old only wants to read dirt bike magazines, let him.

And remember, librarians are here to help.