Reading is an exciting adventure in anyone’s life as it gives them a lifelong path into many worlds which not only allows their imagination to soar, but encourages their creativity and literary skills. Reading can also help children to develop their knowledge and verbal skills simply by reading and learning at their own pace.
If your kids aren’t the most avid of readers, check out these tips below to help encourage them further:
- Keep a variety of books on a small shelf in a reading zone. It could be in their room or a family area and could be decorated with a few comfy pillows or cushions. This will help encourage the kids to spend time in the space, especially if they get to decide what to read and can spend time browsing the shelves.
- Talk to your kids about what they’re reading and ask them to imagine what the story might be like, or what might be about to happen. This encourages kids to think creatively and develop their imagination further than simply reading a chapter or two.
- Choose a time each day as reading time. The kids will be happy and eager to read if they know when it will happen. Reading also encourages family bonding so scheduling “story time” as a bedtime activity can help the family put down their devices or switch off the TV and spend time together. If evenings don’t work for you, try and find a routine that does, like a Sunday afternoon story time or something similar. The important thing to keep in mind is that reading time should be a fun experience not a chore or seen as homework so keep the atmosphere light, lively and engaging.
- During reading time, allow the kids to handle the book. Let them get the texture and feel of it. Encourage them to look at the illustrations and the words to enliven their imagination. If you are reading from an electronic device, you can still allow them to look at the pictures and words. Alternatively there are a variety of materials that may encourage your child’s interest, including comic books, kids magazines, interactive stories (on tablet devices) and choose your own adventure books.
- When reading to your child, show them the link between the words and pictures. Ask them to look at a few simple words and encourage them to follow your lead by saying the letters out loud, followed by the full word. As they become more comfortable and familiar with words, the kids will want to take over more of the reading and less of the listening. But that doesn’t mean you should separate from the reading time. Instead try and ask questions about the story like “what do you remember so far?” and “What do you think will happen next?”
- Celebrate reading achievements. A chart with stickers is a great motivating tool for younger children. As the child becomes older, a graph or chart can be used. Whatever the format you choose doesn’t necessarily have to be about a reward for reading. Instead it could be a way of showing how many books have been read in one week, one month or one year. Some kids might even want to do a little show for the family highlighting any favourite stories they’ve read through the year.