For many children, reading is not their favorite activity. With so much else going on in the modern world, maybe it’s not surprising that sitting quietly and reading static words on paper doesn’t appeal. But it doesn’t have to be like that. Even today, in a world of iPhones and iPads, there are children who love reading.
Reading is hugely important to children’s development. Learning new words, learning about life and improving their attention span are just some of the key skills. Of course, reading for the sheer joy is another matter entirely. Here’s how we can help make reading fun.
Top tips for making reading fun
We have compiled the most effective and practical tips for getting more reluctant children into reading, whether that’s for school or as a great hobby.
1) Role play the stories
Acting out scenes from the stories adds a whole new dimension to reading. Bringing the characters to life puts a completely different spin on storytelling and helps children deepen their understanding of what’s going on.
Role playing engages children by giving them a channel to express themselves. Becoming a part of a story in an immersive and interactive experience that helps them empathise with characters and makes everything more fun!
2) Discuss what’s happening in the story
Talking to your child about what they’re reading completely changes their reading experience. As children become more advanced, they may find reading a lonely experience – very different from when mum or dad was reading bedtime stories to them.
Feeling like they can share their experience with you gives them a whole new reason to keep reading. Asking simple open-ended questions is a great way to spark conversation about characters and events. You may also find you can give the stories more real-life context by applying scenarios to the real world.
3) Read the right books
It’s much better to choose a book that is too easy than too hard, especially if you have a reluctant reader. Encountering one or two difficult words per page is okay, but too many is likely to put them off all together.
Another great way to ensure your kids are reading the best books is to get them to choose their own. The fact they’ve chosen their story gives them much more ownership of the situation and they’re much more likely to commit to reading the story.
Don’t be concerned if they pick up a book you don’t think they’ll like – let them find out for themselves and, you never know, they might love it!
4) Choose stories with human characters
Studies have shown that children are much more engaged by human characters in stories, rather than animals, for example. Whilst some of the greatest kids’ stories involve talking animals, as children get a little older, human protagonists are more interesting.
The reason for this is that children find it much easier to relate to other children (in human form) than other creatures. Finding a great role model and a character they love might just be what they need to find reading more fun.
5) Make reading a reward
If you can turn the tables when it comes to reading, you could totally change how your children perceive it. Shifting reading from a chore to a pleasure could all be down to how you frame conversations with your child.
Rather than telling them they can play games after they’ve read their school book, suggest that reading their new favourite book is the reward for finishing all of their dinner.
6) Sandbox stories
Reading and writing are closely linked but some children much prefer one or the other. A child who wants to create new stories and share their ideas with others is likely to choose writing over reading. Sandbox stories combine the two.
Read the first few chapters of a book before getting your child to write the rest of the story. You can then find out how close the stories were. Alternatively, read some or all of a book before choosing one of the characters to write a spin-off story about.
7) Visit a book shop
If there’s one way to get children excited about books, it’s to visit a bookstore. Seeing the displays and all the brightest and best covers is a sure-fire way to get them asking to read books.
It’s also a great way to find out exactly what they want to read – you might be surprised about what they pick up!
Remember, you don’t have to buy the books in the shop – getting your children excited about them and wanting more is the key.
8) Choose books that are part of a series
There are many benefits to choosing books that are in a series. The first is that your child can choose which one to start with, giving them that sense of ownership over what they read about. Secondly, if they don’t quite get in to the first one, they can try a different one.
Lastly, if you find a series that they really like, they’ll almost definitely want to go on to read all the others in that series.
9) Don’t give up!
It only takes one book to spark the enjoyment of a lifetime of reading. It can take years to find that book that a child wants to keep reading long after bedtime, but if you can find it, they’ll be set for life.
Remember that one person’s trash is another’s page-turner so don’t discount books until they’ve tried them and keep persisting with new titles and new authors.
There are loads of benefits to children reading books. The best way to achieve this is by getting them to enjoy reading – to choose it as an activity. The more they read, the better and faster they read, unlocking the potential of more advanced and exciting literature.
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