As they get older, children might struggle with reading for class, let alone reading for pleasure. There’s added pressure to juggle reading textbooks and assigned literature for class; for many kids, reading for fun rarely stays a priority. Here are some ways to keep that love for books bright, even when schedules get busy.
Let them pick the story.
Your kids will be most engaged with a book if they’re naturally drawn to the story. Give them first dibs when picking a book to read out loud or take with them on road trips. Being able to read for pleasure builds a foundation that stays with children as they age, and they’ll be more likely to turn to books for entertainment as they grow older.
Engage with imagination.
Reading books in a boring way will send signals to your kid that you also think the material is boring. Spice up reading aloud to your children by using silly voices, character ticks or even props!
Have a book-to-movie night.
Some of the biggest blockbuster movies started as books! Create a full family event out of reading by picking an age-appropriate book or franchise, reading the books as a family, and then watching the movie. If you have younger children, try a Dr. Seuss adaptation like The Lorax or Horton Hears a Who. If your child is a bit older, go for the Harry Potter series or Chronicles of Narnia. Movies do a great job of helping your child process what they read. You can also encourage critical thinking throughout the movie by asking them to spot differences between the book and the movie, and also by asking them which one they like more.
Ask questions about what they’re reading.
Reading is only half the battle for most kids; retaining and comprehending what they read makes a huge difference in how they enjoy books. If a child doesn’t understand what they read, they’ll be less likely to read on their own. Go beyond “do you like your book?” and ask your child about the main characters, plot, villains, or what they’re taking away from reading. Asking more specific questions requires them to process the hows and whys of the content rather than just the who, what, and when.
Swap the radio for an audiobook.
Instead of listening to the same Top 40 hits over and over on a commute, invest in an audiobook or two from Audible. Audiobooks are a great option for kids who might struggle with reading, as they’re more likely to connect with auditory learners. It also helps kids learn the pronunciation of words they might not pick up on by reading them on a page.
Treat books like they’re magical.
Children will follow your lead. If you have a book in your hands, they’re more likely to do the same — even if they don’t realize it. By talking about good books, you inspire your kids to invest in quality reading that will last their whole lives.
At Lake Forrest Prep, a private school in Orlando, we want our students to love learning inside and outside of the classroom. We value growth in school and in the home. For more resources, check out our blog.