RULE OF PARENTING #24: Reading Culture: 5 Ways To Encourage Your Kids To Read At Home

Encourage Your Kids To Read!

Rules Of Parenting - # - Mother Daughter Reading DiscoveryResearch published in the British Journal of Educational Psychology shows that the involvement of fathers and mothers in creating a reading culture at home has a direct impact on a child’s academic performance, cognitive and social development. Encouraging your kids to read just gives them a great start to life. Here are 5 easy ways to encourage your child to start reading:

1. Be The Change You Want To See

You cannot encourage your children to read when you do not read yourself. According to a study done by the University of Nebraska Lincoln titled Reading Culture, Parental Involvement and Children’s Development in Formative Years: The Covenant University Experience, parental involvement is crucial in building a reading culture and it is also important for success in a child’s education. Your children are more likely to read if they see you reading regularly. It is also important that you provide enough reading materials for all the children in your house. Availing books and being a good role model will certainly prompt your children to adopt a reading culture.

2. Make Room for Reading

Create a comfortable reading nook that will entice your children to want to curl up and read. Just the act of creating space can take away the distractions and help your child focus on reading. Children can opt to read in their bedroom but it is best when you have a common reading area that is quiet and cosy for everyone. Some kids may prefer to read outdoors at their favourite spot; let them snuggle there and enjoy their book. In making room for reading, it is a good idea to minimize TV time and to free your child from some house chores so he can spend adequate time reading.

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3. Read Together

Children need at least 20 to 30 minutes a day of reading time. To encourage your child to read from a young age, take the time to read to him every day, preferably at the same time. Let your child see the words you are reading to him so he can gradually build a range vocabulary and a mastery of words. Mem Fox, author of Reading Magic notes that when you read to an infant or toddler, his brain starts to form synaptic pathways for language development. For the toddlers, you may also want to incorporate songs and rhymes into the reading sessions because toddlers learn easily through repetition and rhyme.

As your child grows older, encourage him to read aloud for you to hear. When children master how to read, they really enjoy reading aloud in front of others. Reading aloud also gives your child the confidence to take on greater reading tasks and the enthusiasm to improve his skill. Try having small discussions about what the book is about; this can really go a long way in bringing fun to reading and enhance a sense of bonding between you and your child.

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4. Respect your Child’s Interests

One of the best ways to encourage your child to read is to allow him to pick out books that interest him. It is needless to force your child to read science books when he is more interested in comics. The goal is to encourage your child to develop a habit of reading; as long as what he is reading is not offensive, allow him to get on with it. Reading interests change over time; a child who is more interested in comics may start to read more about wildlife, romance, or adventure. So, get out of the way and give your child free reign over his choice of books!

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5. Incentivize Your Child’s Reading Behaviour

You do not have to bribe your child into reading. Incentivizing means positively reinforcing his reading behaviour and encouraging him to make reading part of his lifestyle. For example, you could offer to drive your child to his favourite bookstore to pick out more books after he finishes his current one; you could visit his favourite movie or music store to pick up a movie or a music CD related to a book that he read. You may also encourage your child to read for a certain upcoming and fun activity such as a vacation, a trip to the mountains, a project to construct a pet pen. When children have a reason to read, they are more likely to pick up that book and dig into the literature.

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