Recreational reading and reading for pleasure can be a tough sell for children today. Many kids can be overwhelmed with digital distractions and it’s hard to get them excited about sitting down and reading a great book.
Rather than letting your frustration as a parent fuel an attempt to ‘force’ reading upon kids, you might be better off trying approaches that seek to guide children in fun and exciting ways. Once you open your child's eyes to the magic of the written word, they won’t look back.
Ryan Spencer, Dymocks Literacy Expert, offers some tips on how to help turn your little one into a big book worm!
Surprise with the Reading Location
Much like in real estate, sometimes reading can be all about the location. If your child is struggling to get excited or is starting to find reading a bit stale, mix up your location. You’ll be amazed at how a change of environment can lead to excitement. Turn it into a surprise by not revealing the location and encourage your reader to speculate on where it might be. Choose somewhere warm, quiet and free from distractions. The living room is always a good start or perhaps a nearby park, perfect for adventure novels!
Celebrate Freedom of Choice
One of the best ways to make reading fun again is to allow your child the freedom of choice when it comes to deciding on material. It can be tempting for parents - with the best intentions - to push their children towards a certain book. But a recent study carried out by Scholastic found that most kids aged 6 - 17 claim they would read more if they could find more books they like. So, the next time you read together, take note of what they respond to most positively and then continue to pursue that genre. The more they’re reading, the faster they’ll advance.
Engage in Different Texts & Formats
Gone are the days when bedtime reading meant settling down with a dusty old book and thumbing through the well-worn pages. Now almost anything and everything can be considered ‘literature.’ Don’t let this change worry you, instead embrace the advancement. From comic books to graphic novels, newspapers, magazines and blogs, the practice of reading is what’s important. Encourage your kids to experiment with different texts and formats. For younger kids, novelty books with interactive elements like pop-up displays are also engaging and exciting. Ultimately, once restrictions are removed, a child’s efficacy towards reading increases, therefore resulting in an improvement in their reading ability as well.
Read It Before Seeing It
With so many big screen adaptations of famous novels, there’s a good chance that your child's favourite movie may well have been a book first. Next time round, encourage your child to read the book before watching the movie. Make a game of it, they can read the book first, then see the screen version and compare notes. How was it similar or different, which did they prefer? It’s a smart way to engage them in the material and kick-start a conversation.
Make it a Family Activity
If you’ve got a reluctant reader on your hands, then a great way of helping them overcome their troubles is by getting the whole family involved. Turn reading into a group activity, with each member of the family taking on a different role and doing different voices. The Scholastic report discovered that 86 per cent of kids aged 6-17 enjoy being read to aloud as it is bonding time with their family. So, by making the experience interactive, you’re helping your little learner realise how fun reading can be!
Ready to start reading with your little ones? Let them choose from a wide selection of children’s books online from Dymocks.