How to encourage your child to read more books
Our tips for introducing reluctant readers to an exciting world of adventure
There’s no doubt that reading is hugely beneficial for children. It can:
✓ make a big impact on their academic performance and literacy level
✓ improve everyday vocabulary and general knowledge
✓ develop empathy and emotional intelligence
✓ stimulate their imaginations.
Becoming totally immersed in a book and its characters’ lives – whether they’re thrilling, enchanting, funny, or sad – is a truly unique experience. Reading other materials, for example on social media or in games, is always good for vocabulary, but no matter how old you are there’s something special about diving into a book.
Children often struggle to sit down and read. There can be various barriers to developing a love of books:
✓ lack of concentration
✓ low confidence in their reading ability
If your child is a reluctant reader, these seven tips will hopefully help your child discover the exciting and endless world of adventure that books offer.
1. Dedicate time to reading
Just as with any hobby, the more your child reads, the more it will become second nature. Make time in your child’s routine to relax with a book – a good time to do this could be every night before bed.
2. Help them choose good books that they’ll enjoy
Trying to read something that’s far too difficult can be extremely discouraging. Guide your child towards books that are at their level of reading, while still challenging them. The subject matter is also important – if your child has a special interest in something, get them books about that topic so they are naturally more invested in the story.
3. Create a cosy space for reading
A quiet, cosy nook or fort where your child can go to read will make the idea of it much more appealing and help them associate reading with enjoying themselves. Have a stack of books to hand so they don’t get bored.
4. Lead by example
Act as a role model and read as much as your can in front of your child. They’ll absorb the idea that reading is important and that you should make time for it in your day. Reading aloud to your child is another great way to get them into books, especially if they struggle with reading alone. A common misconception is that reading aloud is only for younger children who are learning how to read – actually, it can be a rewarding and fun bonding experience for parents and children of all ages.
“A common misconception is that reading aloud is only for younger children who are learning how to read – actually, it can be a rewarding and fun bonding experience for parents and children of all ages.”
5. Bring the book’s universe to life
Talking about a story and its characters makes reading bigger than just a comprehension exercise. Ask your child about their favourite characters; get them to recreate or draw particular moments in the story; or do a real-life activity that’s related to the book somehow. The more immersed your child is in a story, the less reading it will feel like a chore.
6. Expose your child to different genres
From adventure and fantasy to comedy and non-fiction, there’s bound to be something that grips your child’s imagination and interest. You could visit a library or bookstore together to get them excited about all the different kinds of books out there and let them choose something they like the look of.
7. Support and help them with reading
Lots of children struggle when it comes to reading fluently. If they’re getting frustrated and discouraged, spend extra time reading with them, helping them to sound out words or tackle new vocabulary. Regular praise and recognition will also help boost their self-esteem and motivation to keep trying – a reading chart can be a good way to track how much they’re reading and show their progress.