At the heart of the big task to get your child to love reading is a big word called parenting. That’s what my professor said when I told him that the main reason I am taking up my master’s degree in Language and Literacy Education is because I want to help my children become voracious readers. He said that it’s all about being with them and showing them that we do what we want them to do. It makes sense. Children usually imitate/mimic what adults do. My twins are barely a year old but I am already coming up with ways on how to encourage them to read for pleasure. Here are seven ways to get your child to love reading:
1. Spend 10 Minutes with Them Reading a Storybook
I have been recording and timing myself lately when I tell stories to my children and the longest storytelling sessions we had was eight minutes and five seconds. Ten minutes may be too short a time, but it works wonders. If you do it every night/day, your kids will look forward to it. Do this to get your child to love reading. The only downside? You may run out of books... so keep building you stock.
2. Give Books as Presents
I had a classmate in grade school whose father brought home books for her after every business trip. She had hardbound books of Aesop’s Fables, Gulliver’s Travels and Grimm’s Fairy Tales. Oh, I envied her. I wished that my Dad brought me books rather than dolls. My classmate was our best storyteller, and you can tell why.
3. Make a Reading Nook at Home
You know how some adults love to have wine bars at home? Why not create a reading nook? It doesn’t have to be fancy; a small space with a bookshelf of books will do. Put in some colorful bean bags and spend time reading there. Do reading and storytelling sessions there so the nook is a special place to get lost in a world of fantasy and wonder.
4. Do a Movie-Book Comparison
It’s harder to encourage older children to love books. It’s even harder with teenagers. Trust me, I had to spend years putting up with my teenage cousins who pestered me into writing their book reviews because they claimed they didn't have time to read. So I did a movie-book comparison where I made them read them a book first, with a set deadline, and then let them watch the movie after.
5. Bring Them to the Library
I really think that one of the primary responsibilities of the parent is to bring her child/children to the library. I am that specific. The library is a place of discovery and learning. A cool parent should know that.
6. Attend Book Signings and Book Talks
When you do, books become real. Sometimes, I feel that books can detach a person from the real world. Attending book talks gets the person back to reality because then, you can discuss it with other people and you are able to share your thoughts and impressions with others. It makes it real and relevant.
7. Get Caught Reading
Lastly, let your children see you reading. Be guilty. Get caught red-handed with a book. Let them see you laugh, or be angry or frustrated when you read a book. Show them by example.
Expose your children to books and reading at an early age. It is never too early to start. Do you have other creative ways to encourage children to love reading?