Encouraging children to read has been a challenge as long as there have been kids and books. Reading is essential not only in education, but in the modern business world where so much communication takes place digitally, over email and text-based messaging systems. Because of this, the ability to read for comprehension and to communicate effectively is vital, and needs to be taught at a young age. Beyond that, reading for pleasure provides a wealth of benefits for kids as they go through school and into adulthood. A study of more than 17,000 people, recording their reading habits and academic success as children, found that those students who read for pleasure not only did better with their vocabulary and spelling, but also in math. The connection was four times as strong as that of students whose parents had graduate level degrees.
Here are some tips for parents to encourage their kids to read and turn a young reader’s reluctance into enthusiasm.
1. Develop children’s oral language
Depending on the child’s language skill level, give him a story to read or have a story read to them. When the story is finished, ask your child to pinpoint favorite parts of the story. This can enable children to have fun picking out words and develop an interest to move to the next page.
2. Read several stories every day
The more children are exposed to literature, the more reading will become part of their daily life. A child is introduced to new information, concepts, and phonemic awareness with every story.
3. Surround your children with reading material
Children with a large collection of reading resources in their homes score higher and perform better on standardized tests. Provoke a reading habit in your child by having a large array of interesting books and magazines at her reading level.
4. Encourage a wide variety of reading activities
Make reading an essential part of your children’s lives. Let them read menus, movie name, roadside signs, game guides, weather reports, and other practical everyday information. Always try to make sure your children have something to read in their spare time.
5. Use technology to increase self-esteem
Technology is changing the way we all learn, and it can have a positive impact on kids and their reading. By adding technology like tablet e-readers to the classroom, students’ self-esteem and confidence rises. Technology also gives students who have grown up in an age of smartphones and ubiquitous computers another outlet with which they are familiar to grow and learn. Building self-esteem through applied technology and increased reading skills can have a positive ripple-effect on every other area of a student’s life.
6. Let them use e-readers
E-readers can be adapted to each person’s specific needs. If you have a kid who needs larger font or less lines per page in order to improve their reading ability, e-readers are perfectly suited to this kind of tailoring. E-readers are adaptive for students with learning disabilities as well, and can help level the playing field for children who learn differently.
7. Let them choose what they read
Reading for pleasure is one of the best ways for a child to improve his performance at school, but teaching a child to love reading involves a lot more than simply handing him a book. Letting children have choices in their reading material goes a long way in raising life-long readers. Kids who choose what they read, regardless of whether it’s a novel, a comic book, or a magazine, are more engaged with what they are reading and more likely to retain the information.
8. Help them choose age-appropriate books
Help your kids choose age-appropriate books on topics that interest them to spark a passion for reading. Take them to the library or even show them e-readers that provide entire libraries of options at the touch of the screen. Access to a wide-variety of options helps make it easier for parents to help their children find the stories that give them that toehold into the world of reading.
9. Make use of gadgets and creative apps
Your smartphone or tablets can be used to install useful reading apps where kids can have safe spaces for reading without parents worrying about what they might come across online. Parents are able to choose what their children can access, as well as how long they can do different activities with timer features.
10. Show interest in your child’s reading
Your response or feedback has a strong effect on how hard they will try to become good readers. Always remember to give them genuine praise for their efforts.
Reading for pleasure seems to give kids an advantage in school because they are used to be introduced to new ideas and can process them more quickly and effectively than their non-reading peers. E-readers have opened the doors to getting the next generation back into reading. Easy access to an array of topics and stories is sure to spark an interest in even a reluctant reader, and increasing technology provides better tailored learning opportunities while increasing self-esteem and confidence in the classroom.
Featured photo credit: Madeline ~ Magical Pages/CT Pham via flickr.com