Reading is an essential skill in life; no matter how fast technology progresses this skill will remain relevant. Unfortunately the sad truth is that reading in children is in decline. There are many reasons why this is happening and how to encourage them to read more. Looking at a book that is too far above their reading grade or is simply to0 factual is certain to result in a child becoming bored of both the book and, ultimately, reading. The obvious answer to this is to ensure there are books available at their reading level which will appeal to them. A crucial part of this is making sure there are books available for your child to read!
Reading out loud helps them understand books better
Most parents read out loud to their young children, particularly as they start to learn how to read. However older children also like to be read to; it provides quality time with a parent. Being read to can also provide the opportunity to bring the book to life, different voices and characters will make the story real. In addition to this talking about the book will encourage the child to think about the story more and this will increase their connection and enjoyment of the written word.
Choosing the right books
One of the biggest mistakes any parent can make is to choose the wrong book for their child. As with most things in life a child is much more interested in doing something if they have had the opportunity to choose the item themselves. To ensure they choose a book which will assist their reading then help them to pick a selection; before leaving the final choice to them.
A child who is rewarded for reading will want to read more and will associate reading with pleasure. It is very easy to attempt to force your child to read by telling them that they can only play, or have sweets if they first read for half an hour. This will create an association in their mind between reading and punishment; they will never want to read for the sake of it! It is essential to create a rewarding environment so that a child will choose to read.
Set an example
Children are very responsive to your own behavior and will model themselves on the way you act and behave. If you do not read then they will see little purpose or pleasure in reading themselves. It is essential that your children see that you love to read; they will copy your example.
No time to read – make time!
One of the biggest reasons in modern society that children do not read is simply a lack of time. After school activities, TV, computer games and a variety of clubs will ensure that they do not have the time to read. As a parent you should ensure there is time available for your child to read; in can also be beneficial to make this an opportunity for you to sit with them; either read yourself or read to them. It can be a great opportunity to bond. It will also show them that reading is fun!
Children may not see the point or purpose of reading or having a book chart, particularly if they find reading hard. This will cause them to have a lack of enthusiasm for the written word which will translate into a lack of reading. The best way to combat this is to choose books that show your child the relevance of reading; it can be particularly beneficial for them to learn that they can understand the world around them better by reading. Even a short walk with an insect book can inspire them.
Reading should be a rewarding experience and if you judge your child or criticize their reading choice it will prevent them from having confidence in their reading abilities. Instead, encourage them by celebrating each little improvement. Small goals are easier to reach and will make your child feel like they are achieving something. Reading can and should be fun, let your children see this and include it in your daily activities. They will become both good readers and lovers of the written word!