Literacy is a critical skill for a child to learn, and it’s also ideal for a child’s natural curiosity and imagination. Whether your child needs some encouragement to open a book or if they already love storytime, try these tips to encourage your child’s love of reading.
Keep reading material available at home
Children model what you do, and having books, magazines, and newspapers as part of your everyday life will show them that reading is important and interesting. Let your child see you reading for pleasure as well as to learn, and ensure that they have their own age-appropriate books within easy reach at all times. Dr Alice Sterling Honig, a child development expert at Syracuse University, says “Surrounding kids with books at an early age gets them hooked.”
Read aloud to your child
Reading aloud to your child is a fun way to enjoy a book together. Your interest and enthusiasm will show your child that reading is enjoyable, and it’s an ideal way to spend quality time together. While reading with your child, ask open-ended questions about the story and characters to help keep your child engaged and participating in the process.
Go with what your child likes
No matter their age, children will have their preferences when it comes to reading. Allowing your child to select their own books will strengthen their positive connection to reading, and show them that books are fun. Visit your local library or bookstore often and let your child’s interest guide them – whether it’s comic books, graphic novels, audiobooks, or more traditional books.
Be patient with your child
If your child is struggling with reading, reassure them that it’s normal, and that you’ll help support them. One option some parents use with struggling readers is buddy-reading, where you and your child read a book together, each one reading alternate paragraphs or pages. Consult your child’s teacher for more advice if you need help encouraging your child to read.
Helping your child learn to love reading is immensely valuable. Above all, make reading fun for your child, and they’ll soon return to it again and again.