7 Clever ways to motivate your child to read
Reading has multiple benefits and is the key to your child's academic future.
Creating a cozy and comfortable place to read makes reading time even more appealing. A quiet spot that’s away from distractions (such as the TV) is perfect. Choose a bright, welcoming colour scheme that kids will be drawn to. Consider an interesting theme or create an entertaining place to do the reading such as a “reading fort” made out of two chairs and a blanket (kids love them!)
Be aware of your child's interests and direct your child to related books. Choose books about topics, subjects or themes your child loves. If your child is a reluctant reader and not reading on grade level, buy her hi/lo books (books with a high-interest level, low vocabulary). Be picky about which books to choose. Don't simply grab a handful off the library or shop shelf. Look through each and every one and (depending on the age of the child) choose books that have just a few words per page, on up to a full page, with understandable pictures and fun colours. Choosing a colourful book with a plot and a feel-good ending will grab the attention of your child, and keep him/her interested while reading rather than getting bored during story time.
Read to your child from the earliest age and try to make a routine out of reading books (whether she is a one-year-old or a 10-year-old). Choose to read either every evening before bed or just after dinner, but make sure you make it a daily habit. If you start making it part of their bedtime routine, like brushing teeth, or putting on pajamas, it becomes natural for them, and they look forward to it. Speaking of older children, there’s nothing wrong with continuing to read to them even after they learn to read competently, if they like being read to.
Set a good example. The impact that your own behavior can have on your children can’t be underestimated. Let them see you reading for pleasure and relaxation, as well as for information. Talk about what you are reading with your children. Share what you find most interesting and explain why. Discuss books with your child, ask your kids to share the parts they like with you from whatever they are reading.
While reading to your little one, make it engaging and try to inject a relevant or exciting tone. If the story is getting suspenseful, slow down and let the nervous energy build. If it's sad, lower your voice, and make a sad face. Read slowly to let him or her take their time ingesting the photos and information on the page. You can even leave words out and let them guess.
When you are finished reading, work on the reading comprehension by asking your child about their favorite character or part of the book, or what they thought of the ending. Ask them why the book made them feel certain emotions.
Kids want to read books that they get to pick out themselves. Don't pressure him/her to read a certain book. Sometimes parents want books that contain more serious content. Other times, adults complain that the book is above or below their child’s reading level “Put that down. That’s for big kids!”. Take your child to the bookstore or library and let him or her pick out a book, audio book, magazine or newspaper that’s of interest. Of course you can advise on choosing a good book but let them be in charge of the final decision. Forcing your child to read a specific book is just going to make the both of you miserable and discourage your child.
Finally, encourage rather than force it, if you want your child to read and love doing it.