As Roald Dahl once wrote, ““If you are going to get anywhere in life you have to read a lot of books.” But with smartphones, tablets, laptops and TVs packed with shows, apps and games to be played, books can often fall by the wayside for today’s kids. If you’d love your little ones to be “nurtured by the voices of all those authors who had sent their books out into the world like ships on the sea”, here are some fun ways to get them reading.
Make reading a daily activity
The best way to get kids reading more is by turning it into a tradition. Incorporating some book time into your daily routine will get your little ones used to reading on a daily basis from the outset.
But don’t force it!
The last thing you want to do is making reading feel like a chore though, or you’ll put little minds off forever. Instead of trying to pin them down during energetic times of the day, try reading when they’re already feeling quiet and relaxed; just before bedtime is perfect.
Let them choose what they’d like to read
This is an important part of making reading seem fun rather than a chore. Asking your little one what they feel like reading today will make them feel more grown up and important, and more likely to settle and listen when story time comes around.
Build your own library
Okay we’re not talking an extension on the house here, just a good collection of books so your child always has something new to pick up whenever they feel like reading. Collecting books doesn’t have to cost the earth either, charity stores like Oxfam Bookshops are packed with second-hand children’s literature that you can pick up for pennies.
Alternatively, grab a library card
If you don’t have the space to store piles and piles of books, you can always take your little one to the library. Libraries are fun because you can turn the whole trip into a big day out, letting them choose what they’d like to take home this time. If your little one is reluctant or bored, incorporate something else they enjoy doing into the trip so they associate the library with happy times.
Modern technology isn’t all bad…
If your little one really loves playing on their laptop or tablet, you can always buy them an e-reader. Using e-readers can make reading seem more like a game than a task so it’s worth looking into if your little one struggles to settle with books. In the same way, using a reading app can encourage your child to read more. There are hundreds of apps out there that help children work on their literacy skills by making reading fun and interactive.
Encourage little ones to make up their own stories
Fun reading requires BIG imaginations so a good way to get children interested is by encouraging them to be their own storytellers. Read a book together and then ask them to come up with a different ending or make up a history for a favourite character. Getting them more involved in the story will make the whole experience much more interesting and captivating.
Be a good listener
Getting your child to read their favourite stories out loud can be really helpful but you have to make sure you engage with them while they read. Gasp at appropriate times, laugh at funny bits and hide under the duvet for scary bits. You’ll be surprised at how quickly their confidence grows when they feel like they’re doing a good job!
Build a reading den
One of the best bits about reading is curling up somewhere comfy and getting lost in a brand new world. Make story time exciting by building your little one their own reading den where you can snuggle up together. Whether it’s a blanket fort or a playhouse, having a special place for reading will minimise distractions and help little ones to focus.
Make reading fun!
Above all, do everything you can to make story time a fun time. Put on silly voices, paint pictures of your favourite characters, act out bits from your favourite scenes; making sure reading is a fun and varied activity will make story time extra exciting and give your little one a Hobbit (sorry, we mean habit) for life.
So please, oh please, dear readers, we beg, we pray, go throw your TV set away, and in its place you can install, a lovely bookshelf on the wall…