In our current age of streaming television and life-like video games, getting your children to read is no easy feat. Indeed, the U.S. National Center for Education Statistics reports that about 34% of fourth-graders and 31% of eighth-graders read below the basic reading level. These percentages are alarming. Not only does consistent reading make a big difference in a child’s academic performance, but it also reduces stress. Getting your child to read more is a task worth tackling, and we’ve got five great tips for making it a little easier.
#1. Set Up an Inviting Reading Space
Inspiring your children to love reading could be as simple as setting up a dedicated reading space. Choose a quiet corner of the house or a bedroom, then fill it in with large pillows, blankets, and maybe even a lovey or two. A tent works well, too! A small bookshelf or ledges safely attached to the wall are easy and attractive ways to place books within easy reach. Don’t forget to involve your kids by encouraging them to make a few design decisions. Having a say will make them more likely to actually use the space.
#2. Turn Up the Audiobook!
The verdict is still out on whether listening to an audiobook provides the same benefits as reading from a page. But experts do agree that audiobooks can be a great tool for encouraging a genuine interest in and love of reading. Choose a family-friendly title via Audible or iTunes, then listen during car rides, quiet time, or while completing chores. Your kids are sure to love listening to Matilda narrated by Kate Winslet, or Charlotte’s Web as spoken by the author, E.B. White, himself!
#3. Encourage a Book Series
Getting a child to read one book is hard enough, but getting them to read two can seem nearly impossible! Make the challenge a little more manageable by guiding your child towards a book series. Many avid readers can pinpoint the one book or series which sparked their love of reading, so allow your child to choose a series based on their own interests. Have any subsequent books in the series already on hand so momentum and enthusiasm aren’t lost while your child waits for the story to continue.
#4. Stick to Their Reading Level
When it comes to encouraging kids to read, perhaps the only thing more important than finding a book that suits their interests is finding a book that suits their reading level (though not necessarily their age). A book that is too challenging or too easy does not make for an encouraging experience. To determine whether a book aligns with your child’s reading level, have them read a few paragraphs out loud. Ask a few questions to check for proper comprehension. Once you have a good idea of your child’s ability, ask teachers and librarians for recommendations. The Accelerated Reader website (www.arbookfind.com) is also a great resource for identifying suitable books of all kinds.
#5. Set a Good Example
As every parent knows, children love to do as we do. When it comes to teaching a child to love reading, set a good example by making sure they see that you love reading, too. Dedicate 20-30 minutes of the afternoon or evening to reading. Read aloud memorable quotes, or share an interesting fact from your book. In turn, ask them what they’re enjoying about their current read.
Reading for pleasure is a skill, and the good thing about skills is that they can always be improved upon. We hope you’ve found these five great tips for getting your children to read to be both helpful and encouraging. Happy reading!