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Tips for Encouraging Kids to Read

26/07/2013 | Room to Grow | by Catherine Godiva

Reading is one of the most important skills that your child will learn in their lifetime. Some children absolutely love to read and can easily lose themselves in the pages of a good book, novel or story. Others aren’t quite as inspired and can use a little bit of encouragement in order to get the reading ‘ bug’. No matter what type of child that you have, getting them motivated to read more is one of the most important things that you can do for them. With that in mind, below are a number of ways that you can encourage your child to get started reading that are fun and interesting.

One of the easiest things that you can do is simply leave books here and there around your home and even in your car. If they are out and within reach, it will surprise you how fast your child will pick them up out of curiosity, something that can get them going on their own. As simple as this tip sounds, it’s one of the best and definitely one that you should try.

Today of course there are tablets like the Kindle that are specifically designed for reading and also have the added value of teaching your child how to use a tablet, how to use apps and other computer skills that they’ll need for the rest of their lives. Plus there’s no denying that the attraction of electronic gadgets is high, something that should make it much easier for you to get them interested.

Most cities and towns have plenty of bookshops and a trip to one of them might do the trick for your hesitant child. Letting them pick out their own book and giving them the time to do so will also teach them about responsibility and will help you to see what types of subjects that they actually like. If your child picks a book that’s above his or her reading level you can read it to them until they’re ready to take over themselves.

Remember that reading doesn’t necessarily mean novels or stories. Cooking together with your child and letting them read the recipes and help with measuring will not only help them with their reading but can also help them with learning how to measure and also with their patience, as many foods take time to cook or bake.

One of the oldest and still one of the best ways to get your child involved in reading is to read to them before they’re able to read on their own. Even if your children are older, hearing the way words are pronounced and spoken can be a benefit. Better still, when your children are old enough to read on their own you can ask them to read something out loud on a regular basis.

For older children that are interested in learning about a sport, a craft or something else that they can do on their own, the first and often best way to learn about it is through reading about it in a book on the subject. Often a child will either develop more of an affinity for the subject after reading a book or will decide that it’s something that they don’t want to pursue, information that may very well save you lots of money in wasted equipment or tools.

If your children aren’t very keen on going to bed at the hours that you tell them to every night, allow them to stay up a little bit longer if they read a book. The fact is, most kids will do just about anything to extend their bedtime past the specific hour that mum or dad sets, and you can use this to make sure that they get in some important reading every day.

Lastly, if you leave books, magazines, newspapers and other reading material out and around your house and make them readily available to your children, their natural curiosity will usually have them picking up those books and magazines and having a look in no time. The more choice that you give them the better.

In the 70s the phrase “ Reading is Fundamental” was coined and, 40 years later, it’s still just as meaningful for your children. Making sure that they learn to read and learn how to do it well is possibly the number one task that you have as a parent and will have repercussions (both positive and negative)  that follow your child throughout their life.

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