How to get your kids interested in reading.

With so many other activities in your children’s lives, how on earth are you going to get them interested in reading? First of all, make it fun. Try to spend at least 15 to 20 minutes each day reading with your children, and treat it like a game. Tell them it’s adventure time, or that it’s time to go exploring. Treat it like a game and they will quickly engage. Become animated as you read along together. Clearly describe the setting of each book. For example, if it takes place in the jungle, describe the jungle with its wild animals and crazy sounds. Another idea is to make art projects out of books you have just read. Ask them to draw the story as they saw it.

Children love rhymes and sentences where a lot of words begin with the same sound. Choose your books accordingly. If there is a movie that has been made from the book (such as The Jungle Book) then rent it and watch it together. The simple idea is to bring the book to life for the children. This exercises their imagination and makes reading a pleasure instead of a chore. Whatever you do, don’t force them to read. Let them come to reading willingly. Otherwise, they will think of reading as a negative experience. This can create a roadblock to reading that can be very difficult to overcome.

The sooner children read, the sooner they succeed.

It is a proven fact that when children learn to read at an early age, they do better in school and are more successful later in life. Which is why it is so important that you start reading with your children before they begin school. Reading together has a lot of value for you and your children. In addition to bringing you closer together, reading increases a child’s vocabulary and understanding. It also stretches their minds and gives them the important tools to do math, write, solve problems and even develop computer skills.

Help your children learn to read. You’ll be amazed how much fun it can be.

When you read with your children you go on adventures together. You visit faraway places and meet all kinds of neat characters. Each book is like taking a trip to an exciting new place without having to leave the comfort of your own home. Here are some helpful tips on helping your children to get ready to read.

Helping your children get ready to read.

  • Talk to infants and toddlers to help them understand the meaning of words. Point to objects and describe them while playing and doing daily activities together.
  • Read to babies every day starting at six months of age. Just hearing words over and over helps children become familiar with them.
  • Using sounds, songs, gestures, and words that rhyme can help babies learn about language and its many uses.
  • Point out printed words at home and when you go shopping.
  • Take children’s books and writing materials wherever you go. This gives children fun and exciting activities while traveling and waiting for appointments.
  • Let your children see you reading for pleasure. If they see you enjoying the newspaper they’ll try to copy your behavior.

Make reading fun.

  • When reading to your children, use different voices. It makes it easier for them to follow the story and it holds their attention for a longer period of time.
  • Show expression. For instance, when reading a sad part of the story make a sad face as you read. When you get to something funny, laugh out loud. This will show them that you are really enjoying what you are doing together. Remember, if you make reading a chore, your child will see reading as a chore and avoid it.
  • The best way to involve children in reading before they are able to read is by helping them focus. So when you come to a picture, ask them to point out and identify objects, animals or people. Or when you come to the big part of the story, stop and ask them what they think is going to happen next.
  • The second or third time you read the same story with your child, let them finish sentences that are particularly funny or memorable.

Make reading comfortable.

  • Pick a quiet spot in the house, away from phones, washing machines and other distractions. Then cuddle up together. Close physical contact connects the idea of reading with your child’s sense of warmth, comfort and security.
  • Let your child hold one side of the book and turn the pages as you are reading together. This helps them feel that they are involved in the reading activity and helps them gain security and independence.
  • Choose books about subjects your child has already shown an interest in. If they like firemen, get books about firemen. If they love princesses, then by all means let them read all about princesses.

Bedtime reading is the best time reading.

  • Reading at bedtime has many benefits. It helps your child to unwind. It comforts them and draws them into a relaxed state of mind.
  • Talking about the story you read the night before at breakfast or lunch the next day helps reinforce the special time you spent together. Since it helps develop memory skills, recalling stories can be a great educational tool.

Age appropriate reading tips.

Under two years old

  • Put the child on your lap.
  • Point to the pictures.
  • Praise your child when he or she tries a new word.
  • Keep reading sessions short.
  • Choose colorful books with bold shapes and simple, single-word text, like an alphabet book.

Toddlers

  • Maintain a story time schedule.
  • Use puppets and stuffed animals to tell stories.
  • Let your child pick out the book.
  • Take them to the library and check out books.

Preschoolers

  • Go to the library often.
  • Choose picture books with lots of vocabulary.
  • Encourage your child when he or she tries to read.
  • Introduce books on the ABCs, counting, colors and shapes.

Kindergarten

  • Get your child a library card with his or her name on it.
  • Choose books that are full of rhyme, longer sentences, and more complex illustrations.
  • Encourage your child to try simple writing tasks, like helping you create a grocery list.

New readers--6 to 8

  • Choose short stories with more words per page.
  • Let chlidren choose subjects that interest them.
  • Begin to read real life stories as opposed to fantasy stories.
  • Introduce your child to simple magazines.


Sources:

U.S. Department of Education
We Read ­ Literacy and Education for Life
American Library Association
Scholastic¹s Parent & Child Magazine
National Center for Family Literacy
Colorado Department of Education
Read and Rise, Scholastic Inc., New York, NY 2002