School’s back and kids are transitioning from a long summer of spare time to an unusual new school year. Getting my kid back in full swing—an alternating school schedule, new teachers and homework—has been far from easy. But when it comes to books, having a reading routine built a productive reader who no longer complains when it’s time to read.
If you have trouble getting your child to open up a book, here are five ways to help your child start reading each day.
1. Find the Right Book. There’s evidence that proves reading books has many benefits, so choosing the right one is important. One of the best ways to get kids reading is by finding out what type of stories they’re interested in. A great way of finding this out is by what they watch on TV.
Many kid shows and movies, like Nickelodeon and Disney, have collections of books written before the movie came out. Your child may love comparing it to the show and read the next book in the series. You can also get a book in a genre that relates to what your child watches.
If you’re a family who doesn’t watch TV much, visit the library and grab a book in each genre to find out what your child likes best. Some examples are realistic fiction, fantasy, science fiction, adventure and mystery. Your child’s teacher can also suggest interesting books that are based on your child’s reading level.
2. Set a Schedule. Make it a habit every day at the same time to have your child read. A daily schedule helps create structure and guides your child to slowly take the initiative to start reading independently without you telling them to.
Figure out the best time of day your child will do the best reading. Is it after breakfast, before homework or right before bed? To find out, do a test run for a week by having your child read for 20 minutes a day at different times.
Make sure to pay attention and take note of your child’s mood, how well your child does when stopping an activity to read and how attentive your child is while reading.
3. Find the Best Place for Reading. The right environment can set-up the mood to make it comfortable to read. Some areas around the home can be at a desk, on the couch, chair, floor or bed. Reading outside can also be an excellent spot.
Depending on the child, reading in different areas around the home may help your child continue to read every day without getting bored. The library and coffee shops may also be great places for storytime.
Music or sound while reading can be soothing for some kids. Try some vocal-free tunes or white noise to see if this helps your child stay engaged.
4. Read with Them. You are your child’s best example. Show them you also enjoy a good story by reading with them.
You can both read silently or enjoy the same book together by taking turns reading aloud to each other. Afterward, talk about the characters and what each of you finds exciting in the story.
5. Reward and Praise Them. There are many ways to congratulate your kids on the amount of reading they accomplished. Rewarding them with something they love may keep them motivated.
Your praise can encourage them to continue reading. Take your child toy shopping for doing a great job. Give extra time on their phone or video game. Take away one of their chores for a day. Have them choose what type of reward they want.
Getting your child reading everyday may take some time and patience, but by putting these five things into practice, your child will be on their way to an enjoyable love of reading.