As parents, we’re all more than familiar with the struggles involved in keeping our children interested in reading – no matter their age.
In all fairness, we’ve got a lot to combat in this area.
When they’re young and in their primary grades, the whole world is filled with interesting things. So getting them to sit still and stare at a book can be as difficult as getting the family cat to come when you call it. Kids need a subject to be stimulating and interesting in order for you to hold their attention.
With that in mind, here are a few ideas to help you get your kids interested in reading and keep their interest in it throughout their life!
1. Read to Them
Reading out loud with your kids can be one of the greatest experiences you can share together. I’m not talking about simply reading the words on the page, I’m talking about taking a journey with your children, do accents, dress up, go on a treasure hunt or maybe build a blanket fort to read in!
This is one of the best things about having kids! They won’t judge you for being a little silly and having fun!
Kids just love YOU for being YOU and showing them that you like THEM for being THEM!
My own kids and I have even written our own stories together and read them out loud into the memo recorder on my phone. Hearing their little voices telling the stories back to us over the car speakers has provided hours of entertainment on long drives. Even as they have gotten older and begun reading on their own, they still love recording themselves reading the books so they can listen back later.
Maybe there’s a career in radio ahead!
2. Visit the Library
Libraries are the unsung heroes of nearly every town!
They give us portals into the past, present and future.
They offer storytime readings for younger children, a limitless supply of adventures for readers young and old, great community programs, book clubs, music, movies, video games, and best of all, it’s all free!
Libraries also play another important role in that for many kids a library card is their first taste of responsibility. When a child signs up for a library card they’re announcing to the people in their world that they’re ready to be trusted with the responsibility borrowing and keeping someone else’s property in good condition, and returning it to them when they promised they would.
If that’s not enough of an incentive to visit your local library, try this on for size. Kids who spend time at the library, do better in school.
In fact, a 2005 study done by the Association of Illinois School Library Educators showed that when students have regular access to properly supplied libraries they’re better readers and writers, and have higher average scores on their SATs and ACTs.
3. Pick the Right Books
The right stories and book make all the difference when it comes to maintaining your kids’ interest in reading.
As parents, we know their likes and dislikes and we can use this knowledge to our advantage.
Or, if you’re dealing with some comedians at home, you can’t go wrong with the hilarious and multi-award winning Captain Underpants books by Dav Pilkey!
That’s also one of the great things about a program like BrightFish Reading, no matter what their actual reading level is, kids are taught how to read and comprehend material at their grade-level. Meaning that a child in grade six who needs a little extra help doesn’t have to suffer through the boredom and possible embarrassment that goes hand in hand with being assigned material from a lower grade.
4. Let Them See You Reading
Like it or not, we have a huge impact on our kid’s interests later in life. As our kids grow up they are watching us like hawks and absorbing everything they see. So take advantage of that and let them see you sitting down, spending time enjoying a book.
There is a whole pile of evidence showing that kids who grow up with parents who read for pleasure, will be much more likely to do the same thing, and in a recent study published by Timothy Bates and Stuart Ritchie from Edinburgh University followed a group of 17,000 people for over 50 years years starting in 1958.
In it, the two men were able to prove empirically that being able to read well by the age of seven was a major determining factor in whether people went on to high-paying jobs in later life. The author’s conclusion was,
“Children with higher reading and math skills ended up having higher incomes, better housing and more professional roles in adulthood.”
5. Give Them Time to Read
Think about how quickly your day can get away from you as a parent; work, groceries, drop-off/pick-up from school or a friend’s house, laundry, house cleaning, and a million other little things can pop up throughout the day.
Before you have time to blink, it’s time for bed! The same thing can happen to our kids.
Between school commitments, family events, activities like soccer, baseball, art classes, karate, etc… a kid’s day can quickly be over, having had no time to themselves.
This is where it is critical that we as parents make sure that they have some unscheduled time every day just to spend laying on the couch, or in a favourite chair reading. Not only will this help make them better readers, but it will also help them learn that there are ways to spend their free time other than playing video games.