Parenting Guide

7 key steps to get your child reading

Published by SchoolAdvisor on Sep 30, 2020, 03:07 AM

Are you worried that your child isn't reading as much as they should? Do they spend too much time on digital gadgets instead? Here are some useful tips for parents in getting their children to start reading.  

1) Read to them out loud

Reading out loud to your child is always the best step in instilling a lifelong reading habit. This is a great tip especially for children who have just started to learn how to read. It helps them develop an interest in reading and, at the same time, expands the child's vocabulary. There are various other benefits to reading out loud to your child such as increasing their attention span, providing enjoyment and promoting the bond between parent and child.

2) Try out picture books

If your child isn't really into reading books with thousands of words in them, picture books will become a parent’s new best friend. These are a fun and interactive way for children to read books as colourful pictures of dragons and dinosaurs will attract their attention, which will lead to them developing an interest in reading books. Give picture books a try next time.

3) Keep it short and simple  

There are other forms of written materials out there besides books. It might be too much to hand your child a thick storybook on the first day. Short reading materials are great for children as they do not require a long attention span. You could start by giving your child something short to read like short stories, poems and rhymes. There are books out there that comprise a compilation of short stories where one story would just be three to five pages long. However, for young adult readers, parents can give them articles, magazines or news clippings. Reading a short story won’t be too boring for young readers who find thick novels a bore.

4) Bring the book to life

It's time for parents to become actors and act out the characters as they are reading the story to their children. This will capture your child's attention. When a child sees her father pretending to be a dragon, it will attract her interest in wanting to know more about the story. This will lead to her reading the storybook herself. Another way to bring the book to life is to let your child see the characters in real life. If your child was reading a book on animals, you can bring your child to a zoo and show your child real-life animals – the very same animals your child has been reading in her book. Your child would be more interested in reading books, knowing that what she is reading does in fact exist in reality.

5) Get them stuck on a series  

You know when you’re watching a TV series and they end the episode with a cliffhanger? It makes you anticipate what will happen next. This is the same with books. One of the ways in getting your child to read more is to get your child hooked on a book series. Once your child reads the first book, she would want to know what happens next. Some of the more famous book series for children are Geronimo Stilton or Peter and Jane. When a new book from the series comes out, you just can’t wait to read it. This is why it would be a good idea to introduce your child to a book series to get them to start reading.

6) Gift them books

Perhaps for your child's next birthday present, you could gift your child with a book. You could also add a short inscription to the book as it would give the book more sentimental value. A child would be more inclined to read a book when parents gift her a book. Gifting your child one will inspire your child to start a lifelong relationship with books. In addition to preparing your child for school, it will widen her vocabulary and, at the same time, help your child develop a curiosity about the world. Next time you're choosing a present for your child, pick up a book. As once said by American author, storyteller and humorist Garrison Keillor, “A book is a gift you can open again and again.”

7) Parents are role models

Children often pick up habits from the people around them. This is why parents must display good examples in front of their children. Children often look up to parents as their role models. If your child sees that her parents often sit down and read a book, she will most likely follow this good habit. Parents must first start reading so that your child can also follow along.  

It is hoped that these tips would be helpful for parents out there who want to get their child to start reading. In the words of award-winning child author, teacher and poet Emilie Buchwald, “Children are made readers in the laps of their parents.”

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