How to foster a love of reading in children

Today’s parents know that it’s not always easy to instill a love of reading in children. Whether they are watching television, dabbling with their smartphones, toying with their tablets, or engaging in social media, youngsters now have more distractions at their disposal than ever before. So, it’s no surprise that many youngsters may not be too enthusiastic about abandoning their gadgets in exchange for curling up with a good book, but there are still many ways for parents to foster a love of reading in their children.  

Instilling a love of reading in kids early on can pay a lifetime of dividends. Children learn at a much faster pace during their first six years than at any other time in their lives, and the right kind of stimulation during these years can provide the foundation for future learning. In addition, reading at an early age can inspire a child’s creativity and imagination. Though many parents can recognize these benefits, that recognition does not make it easier to get kids to embrace reading. No two kids are alike, so parents might need to employ different strategies to get each of their kids to embrace reading. 

The following are a handful of ways parents can foster a love of reading in their youngsters:

  • Embrace their hobbies. When encouraging kids to read, parents may find it easier to get them to pick up a book if that book’s subject matter pertains to a favorite hobby or something a youngster has expressed interest in. A seven-year-old boy with a passion for baseball will likely be more inclined to read an age-appropriate novel about America’s pastime than he will a book about fishing. Use youngsters’ enthusiasm about a given hobby or interest to lay the foundation for a love of reading.
  • Don’t limit reading to books. Books are not the only reading materials that can foster a love of reading in kids. Local newspapers and magazines have sparked many kids’ initial foray into reading, and such source materials can be just as inspiring as novels or short stories. Magazines made for youngsters give kids something they can start and finish reading in the same day. Young boys might want to read the sports page in the daily newspaper or visit a favorite team’s website to learn all about last night’s game, while young girls might be more inclined to read the arts and entertainment sections. Parents should encourage such exploration, even if it means leaving novels on the bookshelf for the time being.
  • Read daily to youngsters. Another way to foster a love of reading in youngsters is to read to them every day. Many young kids just learning to read may be discouraged if their reading skills aren’t progressing rapidly. Reading to kids every day can inspire them to work harder at reading so they can be just as good at reading as Mom and Dad.
  • Discuss reading materials with your children. Many people enjoy talking about books they have read as much as they enjoy reading the books, and kids are no different. Parents who want their youngsters to embrace reading can initiate discussions about what their kids are reading, discussing the plot of novels or the details of newspaper or magazine articles kids read. Ask them what they like and dislike about a book or ask for a recap of a story they read in the newspaper or an article they read in a magazine. 
  • Extend the reading experience. After they have finished a novel, adults often find it enjoyable to watch films based on that novel. Doing so extends the reading experience and gives men and women a chance to see if their interpretations of a given story were similar or different from someone else’s. Kids enjoy such extensions as well, so reward kids by taking them to the movies to see the film version of a favorite book or to a museum that’s displaying an exhibit that’s relevant to a book a youngster just read.

For more information, visit: https://reachoutandread.org

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