How to keep your kids excited about reading
Use these tips to spark a lifelong love of reading in your kidsSome kids take to reading like ducks to water. Some, however, may need a bit more encouragement, especially if they once showed an interest which is now waning. Here are a few suggestions to spark their excitement for the written word.
Give Them Options
Most people who “don't like to read” really just haven't found reading material that sparks their interest. Usually, it isn't the act of reading, but the subject matter (or lack thereof) which bores a would-be reader. Find out what your child is interested in, and seek out books, magazines, or ebooks on that topic. Pictures can help to break up the visual monotony, if they are impatient readers.
There is nothing that says a person has to read novels be a “reader”; all they have to do is read. If your child is an outdoorsy type who loves animals, for example, try getting them a magazine subscription for a publication which caters to that topic. The great thing about subscriptions is that the reading material is broken up into short articles and there is something new every month or quarter (depending on the subscription).
There may also be an issue with your child reading above or below “grade level.” If you find your once avid reader sputtering out, lift the restriction that keeps them reading at a certain level. Let them look at the little kids' books, or select from the young adult or adult sections. Let them pick the subject matter, the style of material, the length.
Pigeon-holing students by only allowing them to access books at a certain reading level can stifle a reader who would otherwise continue to consume all sorts of stories and information. It is best to let them flourish at their own pace.
Lead by Example
Maybe you read to your child when she was a toddler, but now that she is an independent reader, you've largely relinquished that role and let her do it by herself. If she doesn't seem drawn to pick up books on her own, try making it a group activity again.
There is no reason you can't read a novel to your child, in short bursts at bedtime or on lazy rainy days, and the emphasis you put into your recitation can be all the nudging she needs to get excited about picking up a book when you're not around. Take turns reading to each other, and she is likely to become much more enthusiastic about reading in general.
Then, too, ask yourself how often your child sees you reading for pleasure. If all they ever see you “read” are bills and social media, it may be time to bust out that novel you set down months ago and haven't picked up since. Renew your love of reading, and make it a daily or weekly habit. Your kids are watching, and they will often emulate the activities you seem to enjoy.
Create Your Own
The precursor to reading is writing, and for an activity which seems fairly passive, writing your own words can show your child a whole new side to this reading thing. Write him letters or notes that he will find interesting.
Encourage him to write you back. Write a story together, something simple and fun. Play word or story games like MadLibs, Scrabble, or any number of board games that incorporate a running storyline (like Mice&Mystics or Sherlock Holmes, Consulting Detective). Pick up some Create Your Own Adventure books (remember those?) from a second hand store or online and read them together. Have a scavenger hunt with written instructions your child has to follow to get to the next clue.
Engage your child in the writing; make it fun and seem to have an interesting purpose, and you will make reading irresistible.