Many kids can quite happily lock themselves away for hours on end devouring any book they can get their hands on. I am always secretly a little envious of parents who have kids like this, as you can see their kids are totally enthused by the whole reading experience. They are hungry for their reading fix and get so much pleasure from it.
That’s what I want for my kids. But sadly, I have always had to resort to a myriad of inventive ways to bribe, coax and cajole my kids into picking up a book and reading for pleasure. To be honest, I have had to become quite sneaky about how to get my boys’ noses into a book.
If you find yourself in the same boat, you might find the following ideas for getting your child reading helpful.
- Allow an extra 15 minutes reading time in bed as a reward. For most kids this is often preferable to having to turn the light out and going to sleep.
- Put a bookshelf in the cubbyhouse and stock it with cool adventure stories or books on how to build things like rope ladders, trap doors and slingshots.
- Visit a second-hand book fair and give your child $5 to choose as many books as they like. Chances are they will walk away with a pile of fascinating, old reads.
- Find a funny book and read it with your tongue sticking out or with a mouthful of marshmellows. Joke books are great for this.
- Find a scary story and read it under the covers with a torch glowing under your chin for super scary effect.
- Find a book with characters from another country and try reading it in your best or worst accent. Heaps of laughs guaranteed.
- Pick a favourite fairy tale or classic story and assume the various characters. Take turns reading the parts of different characters.
- Reward reading success with a gift voucher from the local bookstore. Your child will feel all grown up choosing and ‘paying’ for their own book.
- Mix up your reading location with some new and interesting places. Try the hammock, under a tree or at the beach. The options are endless.
- Decide on one screen-free day a week where the whole family reads a favourite book together snuggled up on the couch.
- When going on holiday pack a surprise book in the suitcase just for holiday reading pleasure. Tie the theme of the book in with the holiday for extra effect.
- Both you and your child set a reading challenge for the month or the year. See how many books you can each read and the winner gets a prize.
- Poke a stash of books into the car seat pockets and change them regularly. Put in some old favourites as well as some exciting, new ones.
- As a reward for persisting with reading let your child choose any book from the school catalogue. It’s super exciting to get a book delivered to school just for you.
- Have fun in the car with letter and word games with number plates, road signs and billboards. The list of fun games identifying letters and words is endless.
- Spend some time visiting the websites of favourite authors. Find out about the author, discover their new titles, send a message, and get some reading inspiration.
- Download e-books onto your favourite e-reading device and let your child explore stories through another medium. There are plenty of free children’s books and apps, many of which have interactive capabilities.
- Ask the grandparents to read a favourite story from their childhood. Get them to share any old books they may have stashed away on bookshelves or in boxes from years gone by.
- Make giving a book a part of every birthday and Christmas celebration. Remind friends and family that you value books being given to your child and recommend some titles or authors your child likes.
- Give your child a confidence boost by spraying magical reading potion over them before they begin reading. The placebo effect can be truly amazing.
With continued effort to make reading the magical experience that it is, perhaps one day your child will catch the reading bug and become wildly enthused about reading. And you too, will see your child reading with gusto at any opportunity they get.
Got a tip you would like to share? Why not leave a comment below and join the conversation.