Why do some kids love reading and others don’t?
There could be a tonne of reasons. But that’s not why you’re reading this. You want to ideas to help get your child reading. Maybe, post-pandemic, they’re struggling to get back into good reading habits. Or, maybe, they never got started.
What I know for certain, is that now more than ever, children need to be reading. Children need stories and escapism.
As utterly incredible as teachers are, they don’t have wands to wave to get your child fully back on track after such a loss of learning time. No matter how much blood, sweat and tears they and your children put into it.
But that doesn’t mean getting back on track, staying on track or accelerating isn’t impossible. And reading really, really is the key.
But my kids have just fallen out of love with books. They prefer YouTube.– Cry parents all across the globe
So how do we get them to fall in love with, or back in love with books, you ask?
Here are my TOP 5 WAYS TO GET KIDS READINGS AGAIN…
What’s better than free books? Okay, maybe chocolate spread on pancakes might be, but you catch my drift.
Libraries are incredible places, especially for children. It doesn’t cost a penny to stock up on a bundle of books for a few weeks. But it’s more than just visiting your local library that will get children reading. It’s revisiting. It’s letting them browse. It’s about seeing you, their grown up, with a pile of books, too.
In a library, a child is free. They can pick books up, flick the pages and either hold on to it or put it back on the shelf for the next child. Libraries are places where habits can be made. And the habit, is a lifelong love of a reading. Question is, do you have one?
This may come as a shock, but it is not your job to choose what your child reads. Yes, be aware of age-appropriate books (and your librarian can help with this), but other than checking a book is age-appropriate, that’s where your control ends and theirs begins. Remember that.
Why? Because others must be allowed the space to do their jobs. Firstly, it is the job of the illustrator to entice your child based upon the laws of attraction. Your young reader will be drawn to certain styles, colours, images so let the illustrators out there do their job and work their magic. Secondly, it’s the author’s job to cast a spell as they weave their story long enough to keep them reading long past bedtime. Or at least, desperate to dive back in the moment they wake up.
If the book isn’t for them, that’s fine. It might not be the right story, the right character or the right author for your child. And every child has the right to explore and choose and not choose what they want to read. Remember, they’re going to be spending time with these characters going on their adventures, they have to want to. A child must never begrudge reading. Reading cannot ever be a punishment. Otherwise, they’ll resent stories and may never know the value and fun and magical experiences that come with reading. The choice is theirs.
3. Book Budgets & Beyond
If you give your child(ren) pocket money, you could allocate part of it so that it’s only spent on books. Yes, this could be trickier than it sounds, but not if you’re raising the value of books and reading in your house. You can do this by arranging visits to their favourite book shops, or author events or book clubs they might be interested in or doing book swap parties after they’ve bought a new book. Autumn is the ideal time to hold reading parties, snuggling up in blankets and in reading dens with torches, writing reviews of their favourites (trust me, all authors appreciate it when a fan writes a review saying how much they loved their book). You could do story sleepovers, get them to dress up as their favourite story characters and indulge in reading and even, watching any films or TV versions of their favourite books. But the trick there is, they must have read the book versions first!
Got any more ideas? Or want more ideas? Drop a comment below, I’d love to hear.
4. Reading Dens… a magical place of their own
This is such a quick-win to get your child(ren) reading again. It really is fun! Let them (or help them) build reading dens in their rooms. All it takes is a future blankets, cushions, a torch or fairy lights. They can make their own “Keep Out” signs. It can be as simple or as imaginative as possible. I’d recommend doing research on somewhere like Pinterest by searching reading dens.
A den is a safe space. It’s private and their privacy must be respected. Treat their reading dens as if you would a friend’s house. You’re the guest, remember.
5. Be the Reader
The most important one of all.
If you’re not a reader yourself, try. Remember, libraries make this hobby a free one.
“But why do I have to read, too?”
Simple, you’re practising what you preach and demonstrating the value that books and stories have in your home. There’s no greater gift a parent can give their child than reading. Reading is a privilege. Spending time reading with your child should be a pleasure not a chore.
But equally, by finding your own favourite genres or authors or style of books, you’re showing your child that reading is time well spent. Like them, you can explore the fiction realms until you discover stories you love.