Many parents want their children to spend more time reading, but aren’t sure how to encourage their kids to read. In an era where phones and tablets are commonplace, it can seem intimidating to encourage a skill that requires prolonged attention.
Fortunately, motivating your children to read for fun doesn’t need to be that hard. In this blog, I’ll tell you how you can cultivate a love for reading in your child from a young age. But before we get into that, what are the actual benefits to reading? Why is it a worthy pursuit for you and your child?
The Benefits of Reading for Fun
The benefits of reading for fun can have a profound impact on your child’s development in many different ways. Some of the main intellectual benefits children that read experience include:
An improved ability to focus and stay focused
A larger, broader vocabulary, which can improve your child’s ability to communicate
A tendency to receive higher marks in school
But reading doesn’t only benefit your child intellectually and academically. In fact, one of the most important things about reading is that it improves your child’s social and emotional intelligence. Children who read can experience the following benefits:
An increased ability to empathize with others
An expanded worldview, which can make them more accepting of people who are different than they are
An increased and more accurate understanding of themselves and their own feelings.
How to Encourage Your Child to Read
The benefits of reading make the case for why your child should read more, but getting to that point is a different story. So how can you do it? Let’s take a look at six steps you can take to motivate your child to read.
An important step for motivating your child to read takes place well before they can read, and before they’re even speaking. Frequently talking aloud to your child when they’re very young can help foster the understanding of language that’s necessary to excel as a reader and writer as they get older.
Additionally, it’s never too early to start introducing your child to reading. Spending 20-30 minutes a day reading with your child can help with those language skills, be a great way to bond, and prime them to enjoy reading time as they grow.
Discuss What They’ve Read And Learned
As you read with your child, help them connect stories and concepts to the real world. For example, if you read a book about food, you can connect that to meals, grocery shopping, restaurants and more, or if you’re reading about something like shapes, you can ask them about signs you pass on the street and what they remember about that shape.
By connecting what you and your child are reading in books to the real world, you can help them stay engaged and excited about reading and learning. Another way you can do this, as your child’s reading comprehension grows, is by encouraging them to use their reading skills in different settings, such as following the instructions for a recipe or kit.
Help Them When They’re Stuck
As your child learns and grows as a reader, they may need help at certain points. Reading books with your child by either following along or taking turns reading aloud can increase their comprehension.
Having your child read aloud can improve not only their reading ability as they get into more challenging books, but it can also improve their confidence as they encounter new, unfamiliar words. Reading aloud gives your child an opportunity to sound difficult words out, and for you to provide guidance if they get stuck on words that can be confusing, such as ‘through’ and ‘know.’
Make Books an Entertainment Staple
One of the most effective ways to cultivate a love of reading in your child is to make reading your household’s go-to form of entertainment. But minimizing screen time and encouraging reading isn’t always simple; it requires some planning and dedication on your behalf too (although the benefits of reading apply to adults as well as children).
An important step for making reading your child’s favorite form of entertainment is to model that behavior yourself. Instead of turning on the TV, opening a book yourself can encourage your child to read. Keep plenty of reading materials in the home, and take your child to the library regularly, where they can be surrounded by all kinds of books and reading materials.
Find What They Like and Support Their Interest in It
Finally, it must be said that for your child to become a lover of books and all things reading, they’ll need to enjoy the things they’re reading! Therefore, do everything you can to accommodate their reading preferences.
When your child is young, they might want to read the same book over and over—so be it! It’s better that they read the same thing repeatedly and enjoy it than read many different things and be discouraged or lose interest. Additionally, rereading the same books, which many children like, can help them identify themes or details they might have missed if the book was only read to them once.
The same thing applies as your child’s ability to read grows. Book series, like the “Magic Tree House” and “Judy Moody” books, can help kids learn to identify relationships in books, making reading more and more enjoyable as their comprehension grows.
The Value of Reading is Beyond Measure
Reading is a powerful thing. It can help your child academically and emotionally, and give them the language tools to become a truly unique and insightful person. Encouraging your child to read isn’t always easy, but the results can be rewarding. Plus, all of the benefits of reading hold true for people of any age, so by doing things like modeling reading, you not only benefit your child, but you’ll continue growing too.
Thanks For Reading!
If you liked this blog, check out some of my other recent posts, likeFive Amazing Tips for Teaching Kids About Money, and if you want to see more content related to parenting and life in New York City, subscribe to ‘The Way I See It’ today!