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Motivating Children to Read

Motivating children to read is one of those agony-ecstasy tasks every parent and teacher faces sooner or later. There are a myriad reasons children don’t like to read, some will say it’s boring, they don’t have the time, it’s too hard, it’s not important, or it’s no fun. That might be true, but you can help encourage them to get on board the reading train by doing some or all of the below.

Let them choose Plan a field trip to the library and let your child choose books that interest them. Just like someone may love green beans but not like peas, some people love reading mysteries and others adventure tales. The lists go on and on. Once they find what they do like, you can’t keep a happy reader down.

Read together Establish a routine for reading. Whether before bed or at snack time, reading can fit into almost any part of your daily routine. By setting aside specific times, rather than trying to squeeze it in between soccer and dance lessons, you send the message that reading is an important activity, and something your child will enjoy.

Ask Questions Reading doesn’t have to stop when you put the book down. Talk to your child about books you’ve read and books you think they might enjoy. Point out similarities between everyday events and stories you have recently read. Talk to them about what they’re currently reading. By asking questions you help them make connections and increase reading comprehension skills.

Be a Model Show your child that you enjoy reading. Young people should see parents reading, and reading material should be in clear view around the house. Children often mimic parent behavior. Let your child see you reading and enjoying the activity and soon you might have an avid reader on your hands.

Beyond Books Reading materials come in many forms. Video games, magazines, and comic books all provide opportunities for reading practice. Playing board games that involve written instructions, writing to a pen pal, and turning on closed captioning on your television are ways to sneak some reading under your child’s radar. Have them help you with your grocery shopping or errands by writing and reading off the weekly list and leave notes around for your child to find throughout the day.

For some children, especially those who have difficulty reading, books cause anxiety. So take the pressure off reading, so that your children can enjoy it. Relax and add a few of the suggestions above and see where things go. Remember, stress is never good so make it a positive activity and a happier reader will emerge.

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