Most people think that the drive for reading is a strictly hereditary thing. If parents read, children also enjoy reading. That, however, is not true: even the most educated parents may end up with children who hate books. The point is that the drive for reading should come from within. And if a child doesn’t have any interest in books, parents can help to cultivate it.
Use soft power
Don’t force children to read! This is the first and the most important rule. Blackmail is also a bad idea. It’s common for parents to use ultimatums for motivating their kids: “Unless you read another ten pages, I won’t let you go out with friends.” Stop, please! The pressure will never help to achieve a positive result. If anything, your kid is likely to associate reading with punishment. And when it happens they’ll be unlikely to become independent readers later in life.
At the beginning, children can only read by syllables. However, this is a long and very tiring process, and struggling to read may be very discouraging. Read together: help them when they are stuck, explain the meaning of difficult words, or take over and read for them when they are too tired to continue. Don’t forget to take short active breaks during the process.
Buy comic books
Yes, lots of people associate comic books with a primitive, simplistic form of entertainment. However, short adventure stories with a linear plot and plenty of pictures are great tools for children’s development. Firstly, the pictures can be interpreted differently. It trains imagination. Secondly, all comic books have semantic omissions. So, without reading you can’t really grasp what’s going on. This feature has a positive effect on thinking and speech, which are inextricably linked with the development of reading technique.
Create your own reading channel on Youtube
Let the child make video reviews of everything they read! The idea can be turned into a funny pastime with dressing-up and cosplaying! Stage the most interesting moments together or even create new stories based on the books you read! Likes, comments, and audience feedback will definitely motivate your kids to read more.
Try mobile apps
There are a ton of reading apps for children, some designed specifically for developing a reading habit. There is one app called Nicola. It’s a parental control tool that requires your kids to do some reading before they can access their favorite apps. And the punchline is — the app tracks eye movement, so it actually knows whether your child is reading or not. Unlike other similar tools, Nicola gives your child a measure of control and establishes a connection between making an effort and receiving a reward.
Watch the movie first
Try a tricky experiment. Show your child the first part of the movie. Afterward, offer to read the second one. Inspired by the movie, your kid will certainly want to find out what the ending is. If it doesn’t work, stir up your kid’s interest with fascinating details from the sequel.
Reading aloud is a great way to get a child acquainted with the world of books. Expressive reading contributes another layer to the perception of the text. Pronounce the words clearly, make pauses, do the voices. In general, don’t be afraid to look ridiculous: improvise, speak in different voices, and be active! Let the reading time becomes a real theater. The more emotions you add to the process, the better. And be sure to discuss everything! Make your kids excited to join in on the reading process.
Listen to audiobooks
This principle is similar to the one with the movies. At first, children get used to characters and then pick up the book. One of the upsides is that they can listen to books while doing other stuff. Like sports, or drawing, or playing outside. You can turn on audiobooks during a long drive, on a walk, or while traveling. By the by, children really enjoy listening to audiobooks from the reading lists they get assigned at school. It’s a little like cheating, but not really.
Discuss what you read with your children
Children always try to imitate adults. So, give your kids a proper example to follow. Tell them about the books you read and enjoy regularly. Focus on the stories that inspire you personally. Although make sure the material is kid friendly.
See, there are tons of options for inspiring your kids to read! Don’t despair if the first option you chose doesn’t work. Just keep trying! You can even offer your child to make a choice on their own.