I’ve always loved reading. When I was a kid my favorite aunt was a librarian, so every week she’d bring books to our house so I could indulge. No one read to me, of course, Haitians ain’t about that life. LOL! But I loved loved loved books: Babysitters club, Fear Street Books, Christopher Pike, Roll of Thunder Hear Me Cry, Ramona books, Are You There God It’s Me, Margaret. Shall I go on? I couldn’t get enough, so color me surprised when I discovered that my 5-year old wanted nothing to do with the written word. I know what you’re thinking: he’s only five, but still! I want to create a culture in our home where reading and knowledge is fundamental. That being said, after many failed attempts to get my kid to want to read, I think I’ve sort of cracked the code. The following is a list of ways you might be able to get your kiddos (ages 4-10 or so) to enjoy reading as well.
How To Help Your Child Learn to Love Reading
- Read in front of your kids. Put down your IPad and/or smartphone, and model the behavior you’d like to see. Maybe create “family reading time” where everyone reads, either together as a family, or independently. Either way, if you make reading a thing that everyone does, not a requirement only for kids, it can make reading fun. My son loves our weekly, “family movie night,” but family reading time is becoming a close second.
- Let your kid read to you – Another way to get your elementary kid to enjoy reading is to let them read to you. As they read through, don’t try and correct everything they say. This one is particularly hard for me because I want to jump in and correct all of his mistakes, but relax, Tiger moms. Boo boo will get it in time. Nobody likes someone standing over them correcting every little faux pas.
- The right book is everything – In order to get your kid to enjoy reading, they really need the right book in their hands. Take them to the library and let them pick out a few books that they’ll love. It doesn’t matter what the book is. Sometimes my son grabs at the board books I read to him as a baby. Obviously, these books have very few words and are way below Kindergarten level, but so what? When he’s with me he’s not in school.
- Visit the library often- Our local library is filled with Legos and toy dinosaurs, so during most of our visits, JB just sits on the floors and plays. Before we leave we both take out a library book and that’s pretty much it.
- Read at the same time every day – Get a routine going. It doesn’t have to be long, either. Whether you read with your kids before school or after school, reading at the same time every day is important as kids love a routine. This way, when you announce that it’s reading time, it doesn’t feel like a punishment, but a normal part of the day.
- Apply reading to everyday life – Connections are an important part of reading. Help your kids connect what they read to everyday life. An example, read a book about the aquarium and then go visit the aquarium.
- Buy books as often as you can – Although, it’s great to go to the library, it’s great to have actual books around your house. Kids need to be able to see and touch books! My son is into dinosaurs, so we have tons and tons of dinosaur books. Whenever I come upon a new one, I buy it.
- Make a reading corner – Another way you can get your kids ages 5-10 to enjoy reading is to create a reading corner. A fun place that they can go to enjoy their favorite book. Help your kid help decorate the reading corner, too.
- Choose topics they love – If your six-year-old LOVES dinos, make sure you get your child some dinosaur books to enjoy! Forcing JB to read books that don’t involve dinosaurs was an exercise in futility. So I gave in and it’s paid off. Let the folks at school dictate which books he can read. At home, make it fun by letting your kid read whatever they want.
How did you get your kids to enjoy reading? I’d love to read your tips below!
Hey, Boo! My name is Lisa and you’ve stumbled upon my own little corner of the world. I’m a 30 something-year-old writer/mother/wife who happens to love lipstick, high heels, blackness, and the truth. You’ll find a mix of everything on this site, so I won’t bore you by trying to define this space. I hope you stay awhile!