Celebrate family literacy day with a wonderful guest post filled with tips on getting your child to read more. Thank you, Kelli Cooper, for contributing this post! Be sure to check out her bio at the bottom.
When I was a child I loved to read; my one friend’s mother knew this and she would always compliment me on my vocabulary, and chide her daughter for not sharing the same love of books. Looking back on it, I was a pretty smart kid who excelled in school, and I have no doubt my love of reading was a major contributor to my academic success. Getting children to read more can be especially challenging these days as technology is contributing to ever-shrinking attention spans and lack of interest in doing anything that does not involve being online. But, not all hope is lost and with some diligent application of certain techniques, you can help your child foster a greater interest in reading.
Benefits of Reading
Getting children to read more produces so many important benefits, which makes your quest well worth the effort. Children who read more get better grades in school and have a more positive attitude towards academics—how many kids do you know that like school and get really bad grades at the same time? It improves vocabulary and helps them learn proper grammar and sentence structure; being read to at any age helps improve listening skills and attention span.
Take Turns Reading Aloud
Taking turns reading aloud with your child will not only help them develop enjoyment for reading and better literacy skills, it is a wonderful bonding activity. Take turns reading a chapter; if one of your aims is to improve reading comprehension, you might ask your child questions regarding what was just read to help her improve her skills; offer her the opportunity to ask you questions about what she just read aloud—this may help her pay attention more to what she is reading so she can formulate her questions.
Let Your Child Pick out His Own Books
Parents often struggle to get their kids to do things they just do not want to do, whether it is read more frequently or eat more fruits and vegetables; one of the best solutions is to involve children in the decision making process; by letting them choose books they like, whether at the library or in a bookstore, there is a greater chance the book will get read. Consider setting a designated time each week where you will visit the library as a family and let your child pick out whatever he wants.
Give Your Child Incentive to Read More
Giving your child incentives to read more certainly will not hurt; you are not bribing your children, of course, but providing some nice motivators to get them to pick up a book. If your children have a set bedtime, you might offer to extend it by an extra 30 minutes, provided the time is spent curled up with a book. If your child happens to like a book that is part of a series, only buy one at a time and tell her she cannot get the next one until she finishes the current one. If you are a bit strict when it comes to time spent watching television, consider allotting one minute of TV time for every minute spent reading. Track time spent reading, and once your child reaches a certain threshold, offer a reward such as a day out at the amusement park or buy him something he has had his eye on.
Set a Good Example
It is all too easy for parents to fall into the trap of ‘’Do as I say, not as I do.’’ We want our kids to do all of these things we know are good for them, but we do not do them ourselves for a variety of reasons. If you want your children to develop a love of reading, it is important to set a good example. If you typically spend breakfast checking emails or watching television, try reading the morning paper instead. When you are waiting for your child’s appointment at the pediatrician’s office or for soccer practice to be over, have a paperback handy. Talk to your child about what you are reading and why it is interesting and engage him in a similar way about the books he is reading.
Kelli Cooper, writing for SchoolTutoring.com, is a freelance writer who enjoys sharing tips on how parents can help their children improve their academic performance. Check out SchoolTutoring for information on a variety of programs, such as English tutoring, to help your child strengthen his reading skills.
Photo Credit: Child And Books by George Hodan