But nowadays, kids just seem to have so many more distractions! Tricky to find the time, so does it matter if they like reading?
There’s all sorts of research out there about the benefits of reading. From early bonding with parents to improved vocabulary and higher school performance, much has been linked to an early love of books. It’s even been reported that when kids decide to read for their own pleasure, they have a higher chance of having a successful career.
So how do we get them to read a book these days, with all that competition?
1. Start the reading habit early, and try to make it a habit. They’re never too young to listen to your voice, and they’ll treasure the calm reading times as much as you. And if you keep it up, all the way through pre-school and beyond, quiet time will be something they come to expect. Imagine that!
2. Keep it light and fun. No one enjoys listening to a story that just drones on and on! Bring the characters to life with voices and actions. Encourage them to join in. Urge them to guess what happens next, to help develop an understanding of the storyline.
3. Mix and match the types of reading. It could be a kid’s magazine, or the writing on a board game, or even helping you write a shopping list. It doesn’t matter – it’s all practice.
4. If there’s a strong dislike of reading in younger children, eyesight problems are sometimes a factor.
5. Be a great example and read yourself. Tell them what you’re reading, make it fascinating!
6. Let them choose the book sometimes. I know what you’re thinking – it’s going to be the same book every time! My favourite was a Ladybird book – ‘The three billy-goats gruff’. That was almost 50 years ago and I still love it today. Me and my mum still laugh about it.
7. Just doesn’t want to read? Be devious! There are plenty of kids’ computer games and TV shows that also have magazines and books associated with them.
8. Too busy on her phone or some other device? There’s no point making it a battle – the book will always be the loser! But giving her an incentive or reward for reading something she can choose herself, has worked for us.
9. What’s reading nowadays anyway? It could be argued that you can’t avoid reading if you’re on a mobile phone or iPad. Although true, Snapchat or Instagram isn’t quite the type of reading we had in mind! Perhaps downloading a short story could kick-start the interest.
10. Try weaning him initially on an Audible audio book, and that could lead to an interest in other books by the same author.
Different things work for different kids, but everyone knows the rewards of reading. It’s worth the effort.