The process of learning to read will generally be easier for a child who already loves reading. This child knows that reading is enjoyable and informative and useful. This child knows that the words and pictures on a page communicate meaning. This child has had many, many positive associations with books and reading before they come anywhere near the process of learning to independently decode sounds and letters to form words.
Here are 10 ways to help motivate your child to love reading…
1. Read together throughout the day, everyday. Both as a part of your daily routine (for example, a book before bedtime) and at other times just because. This quiet shared reading time helps your child to learn that reading is pleasurable and relaxing. Continue to make time to read aloud together even once your child begins to read independently.
2. When reading together, read with interest and enthusiasm, even if you know the words by heart.
3. Read together with a purpose. Whether it be a recipe you are cooking, a catalogue as you make a grocery shopping list, or the instructions for putting together an Ikea cabinet. Let your child see that reading is useful.
4. Integrate ‘reading’ into your play. Add takeaway menus to your play cafe or a specials board and open/closed sign to you fruit & vegetable store. Train timetables, zoo maps, road maps, telephone directories, letters to post and deliver, magazines in the doctors waiting room; these are all simple ways to playfully ‘read.’
5. Scatter reading material throughout your house, in every room.
6. Visit the library and/or book stores regularly to make new reading discoveries.
7. Read both fiction and non-fiction titles together.
8. Choose books about topics, subjects or themes your child loves.
9. Make sure your children see you regularly read for yourself. This will help them to appreciate the importance of reading in their everyday lives. Let them see you reading for pleasure and relaxation, as well as for information.
10. Look for plenty of opportunities for Dads and other male role models to be involved with reading with children, an especially important strategy for parents and teachers of boys.
I would love to hear about ways that you and your children enjoy reading together.