Reading is important to kids’ success at school and in other areas, like their health and happiness. There are lots of things we can do to encourage kids to discover the adventures waiting for them in a book.
Here are some simple ideas to encourage
reluctant readers to read and
to help budding bookworms keep moving along:
Create a reading spot
Having a reading spot is a great way to encourage kids to settle in and enjoy a book. It doesn’t have to be fancy or complicated. At home this could be just a quiet spot with a comfy chair, good light and a shelf full of books nearby.
Create a reading routine
Aim for around the same time each day. This might be after school to check in and transition or before bed to cuddle and slow down. Make it both a predictable and an enjoyable time. As a counsellor I used to begin each session with a book. It provided a great opportunity for a child to relax as well as for us to connect through a story.
But encourage reading here, there, everywhere - and anytime
Follow the wise old Dr. Seuss’s advice and fill your house with stacks of books, in all the crannies and all the nooks. If books are around, they are more likely to be read. Make books easily accessible in your reading spot as well as in other spots in your space. This will also support story times happening anytime.
Offer options, options, options
Regularly rotate books and offer new ones too (the library, little free libraries, second hand book stores and trading with friends). Options provide intrigue and keep interests high.
Sometimes they choose
Let kids choose whatever they want to read. When they have a say in picking out books (to purchase, loan, trade or read), kids are more likely to take ownership of them and be interested in what books have to offer. Their interests and tastes might be different than yours, and that’s okay.
And sometimes you choose
It is also important to have some books that you have chosen to share. Your choices might match their interests, offer a theme or lesson they need or have higher quality content, for example.
Read slowly and with expression. Encourage questions and conversations. Have fun. These approaches to reading build interest, vocabulary, inquisitiveness, self-expression, relationship skills such as sympathy and empathy, and so much more.
Nurture happy reading memories
Even when kids become able to read for themselves, stay engaged by reading to each other or by becoming the listener. Nurture their love of reading by nurturing the happy memories they will recall each time they pick up a book.
Be a reader
When kids witness your love of reading they are more apt to take it up themselves.
Nurture a love of reading through the experiences – rituals like a special place and routine, shared moments, engaging conversations and playful approaches like using our FREE Readers' Fun Sheet.