How To Encourage Your Child To Read

girl with book
Maximus Escouri
girl with book

Reading is essential for your child’s future.  The ability to comprehend and to communicate effectively will benefit his/her career later in life.  Reading should be taught at a young age.   Beyond that, reading is a pleasurable pastime that can transport your child into a wonderful world of imagination and knowledge.

Here are some tips to encourage your child to read and turn their reluctance into enthusiasm:

1. Develop storytelling skills

Depending on your child’s skill level, give him/her a story to read or read a story to them.  Encourage your child to participate during story-reading time.  Ask them to pinpoint their favourite parts of the story.  Ask them to describe what they like about the characters in the book. 

A toddler will never get bored with a favourite book – no matter how many times you read it to them. Children learn by mimicking.  Eventually, they will be able to narrate the story just by looking at the pictures on each page. Encourage them to tell the story even if it’s not quite what’s in the book. Feed their imagination.  Let them express themselves through storytelling.

For young children, you can pick up keywords in the storybook and turn it into a fun Q&A.  For example, pick out colours in the book and ask them to name all the things they can see in their bedroom of that colour.

2. Foster a reading culture

boy reading book

Make reading a part of growing up. Reading regularly to your child at a young age will help your child appreciate the joys of reading. Begin by making bedtime reading a special time to bond with your child.  

Don’t turn bedtime stories into a chore. If you ask your toddler, he/she will want you to read all night. But sometimes, we parents, are fagged. All we want to do is just put the 4-year old to bed quickly so we can retreat to our bedroom. Let your mood guide how much reading you do with your child. It is okay to ask them to choose a book. But your little pre-schooler is not going to get angry with you if you read only a few pages of the book and fast-forward it to the finale. The important takeaway here is that you read regularly to your kid so they become interested in reading.

3. Make reading available

A good way to encourage your kid to read, is to surround them with reading materials. You don’t need to invest a fortune in buying books for your child. Of course, we’d love it if you do, because books are a gift of knowledge. 

However, there are many creative ways to give your child access to reading. Take them to your local library, for instance. Most libraries have reading and storytelling times for children.  If you are a lucky home executive with time to spare, this activity can become a regular event for your pre-schooler to experience the joys of reading.  It is also a good way for them to socialise with other children. If you are a busy professional, weekends are a good time to go to the library with the family. Make it a fun event and encourage your child to choose the book he/she would like to read.  Library outings does not have to be weekly especially if you are time poor. So, make sure you borrow enough books to last a few weeks. 

girl with many books

4. Encourage a wide variety of reading activities

Reading a book is the most obvious way to encourage your child to read. However, reading does not have to be limited to just books. It is easy to make reading an essential part of your child’s life by encouraging them to read a wide variety of things. 

For example, if you are out on a family breakfast, let your child read the menus and choose what they would like to eat. If your child is too young to read, show them the menu and read it out to them. 

When you are out exercising with the kids, why not point out road signs to them?  Shopping for groceries and babysitting your pre-schooler at the same time? There are many letters on a cereal box that will keep the 2-year old interested.  Words are all around us.  We just need to notice them and point them out to our kids.

5. Use technology

kids reading in mobile

There are plenty of reading resources online you can download for the kids. Here are three online reading resources to encourage your kids to read:

Sesame Street eBooks

Sesame Street has been a favourite with kids for over 50 years. Guess what? It’s still a favourite with kids today! 

The Sesame Street’s ‘Caring for Each Other’ initiative has more than 100 titles for you to read with your child.  Aside from books, the project also includes downloadable activity sheets and ‘The For Now Normal’ printable colouring pages with timely topics like ‘How to wash your hands’.

Find old favourites like Sesame Street Alphabet Book, Sesame Street Grover Book and others here.

Montessorium Intro to Letters

An educational app designed to help children recognise, pronounce and write the alphabets.  The app is simple to use and surprisingly calming. There are no brightly coloured visuals, cutesy animation or loud jingles.  Instead, kids trace letters with their fingers and hear how the letter is pronounced in an activity that is similar to Montessori’s sandpaper letters.

ABC Reading Eggs

Your kids will love the games, songs and golden egg rewards.  An educational resource developed by the ABC, Reading Eggs is suitable for children aged 2 – 13 years’ old.   ABC Reading Eggs is designed by Australian primary school teachers, professional writers and software engineers.   

There are hundreds of online reading lessons and wonderful e-books for your child to begin a journey into reading and writing. Note: There is a small subscription to use the app however, parents can download a free 30-day trial before subscribing. 

Kidspot has a list of online apps to grow a reading interest in your kids. Read their blogs here.

Reading is a good habit.  How you read to your baby, toddler or pre-schooler can have a huge impact on how much they will love reading and how readily they will be to read on their own. So start reading today!


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