Among the many healthy habits that parents hope to instill within their children is a life-long love of reading. In addition to the emotional and recreational benefits of reading, the academic advantages are innumerable. While most parents are in agreement about its importance, many parents and teachers struggle to motivate their reluctant readers.
Luckily, there are plenty of creative strategies that adults can employ to help cultivate kids’ love of literacy. Below are five ideas about how to get children excited about reading.
- Start them young. Studies show that exposure to a vast spoken vocabulary in infancy helps young ones with language development. While it may feel silly at first, reading books to brand new babies is important; they are absorbing not just words, but the sound and cadence of your voice. The good news is that babies aren’t picky, so you can read aloud whatever you want.
- Set an example. Children will emulate what they see, so if you want to raise a reader, be a reader. When parents open up the newspaper or a new library book, they send cues to their kids that reading is an important use of time. Create a Saturday morning family routine where everyone spends 30 minutes reading silently in the comfort of the living room; carving out special time shows that reading is something to be prioritized.
- Change the format. Sometimes, a change in medium can pique kids’ interest enough to keep reading. There are countless tech toys that are both fun and educational: The Touch and Teach Word Book and LeapStart 3D Learning System are two great choices or younger children. Kindles ebooks work well to provide efficiency, choices, and fun for older children. For kids of all ages, audiobooks provide a different way to enjoy stories.
- Credit their opinions. Like everyone, kids love to share their perspectives. Allow them to assume the role of Book Reviewer for their peers. Designate a visible place in the classroom where students can display their book reviews, or carve out a spot on Google Classroom specifically for this purpose. Students will feel like their opinions are heard, and their reviews can help other kids choose a book that is well rated and loved by friends.
- Start a tradition. Create a classroom culture that values books and celebrates their value. One way to do this is to start a tradition based on the excitement brought by a book. After finishing a book as a class, think about hosting a movie event; spend time afterwards comparing and contrasting the upsides to the book and movie versions of the same story. Another fun tradition is a “read in”. Designate an afternoon for silent reading only; encourage students to bring in a cozy blanket and a book of their choice. Oftentimes, these simple, extra details work well for nurturing that extra bit of enthusiasm.
Motivating young readers, although sometimes challenging, is worth it. With a little creativity, parents and teachers can encourage a life-long love of reading.