Growing up in an atmosphere that encourages a positive relationship with reading is so important for children. There are pretty much endless benefits for a child who reads often, from heightened creativity to better performance in school to better literacy. The more books, the better!
But not all children grow up loving to read, and as technology becomes more accessible to younger ages, many children are losing a previous love of the hobby by the time they enter middle school. The best way to counteract this is to foster a love of reading in your children from a very young age. Instead of making reading a chore to be completed, present it as something fun and rewarding. Here are a few ways to do just that.
Read Aloud To Them Often
We hear it all the time – read to your children. But the benefits go further than quality family time (although that is nothing to sneeze at). Reading out loud to your children has the potential to create an extremely positive relationship with books and stories and will encourage them to continue the activity on their own when they are old enough. Make sure you stay positive and patient when you read – if it feels like a chore to you, it will come across as a chore to them. Use this time to ignite a wonder of storytelling that will carry over in years to come.
Let Them Get Involved in the Reading Process
When was the last time you were excited about doing something that someone else told you to do? Required tasks aren’t usually very fun. While you should encourage your child to read (and that encouragement may come in the form of “you need to finish this book by the end of the week”) the process will be much more enjoyable for them if they feel involved. Set up a summer reading schedule and let them choose which books they read. When you’re reading aloud to them at night, let them read the lines of their favorite character. This will help promote the idea that they are choosing to read and they will be much more excited about it.
Pick Books with Movie Adaptations
This doesn’t need to apply to every book you read, but add some books to your reading list (whether you are reading the story aloud or your child is reading it themself) that has a movie adaptation. Watch the trailer together and make a commitment to watch the movie together as a family when your child has finished the book. They’ll be motivated to read and pay extra attention to the story as they prepare to watch the movie. Plus you’ll get even more family time together. Bring out the popcorn and blankets!
Talk to Them About Their Favorite Authors and Books
Children soak up everything you do and say as a parent. If they tell you about the story they’re reading and you don’t seem interested, they’ll probably lose interest as well. Ask them about the chapter they just read or their favorite author. Your approval and interest will go a long way in fostering a love a reading.
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