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How To Get Your Child To Love Reading

Reading proficiency by the end of the third grade is a key marker in a child’s development. After third grade, children are expected to be able to read in order to learn other subjects. Children who read a lot, do better at school, study faster, and in general are more confident to do their homework by themselves. But there is more. Many studies have shown that those who read well normally go on to university, have better-paying jobs, and are more successful in business. The warning signs are on red alert, unfortunately. A recent study in the USA revealed that 66% of fourth-graders were not proficient in reading. It will be worse here in South Africa is my quick guess.

So, how do we get our children to love something that they consider boring or “hard”? How do we get them to enjoy something that is not visually as pleasing as TV, computer games, and YouTube videos?

In many cases, children find reading not interesting just because they have not been exposed to reading material that motivates them. If you know what they like, you might be able to find books that pique their interest enough to start reading.

Children who find reading hard might have underlying challenges you might not know about. They might struggle because they have not developed strong vocabulary skills and therefore are guessing at words, there might be attention deficiency or even dyslexia. The bottom-line is to have your child’s reading skills evaluated and then start to address the areas of weakness.

5 Tips to Motivate Your Child to Read

  1. Have you considered audiobooks? There are many free audiobooks on the internet, and yes, audiobooks count as reading. Not only do they increase vocabulary, but listening to someone read is a fantastic way to experience fluency, tone, and speed. It might prove to be an ideal crossover between getting children to read instead of playing on their tablets all the time.
  2. Reading should be a fun activity, don’t schedule it as part of homework or shove it between ballet and athletics. The more relaxed the environment is, the less stress your child will have. But there is more. Children model what we as parents do. If parents don’t like to read, chances are that their children won’t either. See the pattern there? When your children observe that you love to read, they’re more likely to develop a love of reading themselves.
  3. Make sure the books they read are within their abilities. If it is too hard to read, the motivation will disappear very quickly.
  4. Children love funny stuff – use it to your advantage. Select a funny book at your child’s reading level and read the first chapter out loud. Your child will love to laugh with you and when you stop reading, they will want to find out what happens next. You can motivate them to read it themselves.
  5. Have lots of books around. It doesn’t all have to be fiction. Children’s magazines, cartoons, even recipe books can provide for effective reading. Recipe books? Yes, dear. Recipes are filled with instructions, similar to what is happening in school, but way more fun. Why not bake a cake or make a tart with your child and let them follow the recipe step by step?

Deon Visser

Biolink Attention Training Head Office