Updated: Aug 4
Very few parents need to be told the merits of getting their children to read. Reading is hands down the best way to increase vocabulary, not to mention the positive effect it has on a child’s ability to spell as well as teaching them the time-honoured art of painting a picture with literature.
However, whilst all of us understand the importance of reading, few of us have mastered the way of creating a passion for it in our kids. And with all today’s digital distractions that steer our children’s attentions away from this important pastime, getting kids to pick up a book is now harder than ever.
So, instead of trying to force our children to read, something that will create a lifelong association between reading and buzzkill, the following article is going to look more closely at some ideas that will help you instil in your child a love of reading that could last a lifetime.
1. Lead by example
Young people mimic their role models. If you demonstrate your own love of literature and talk with your kids about some of the great books you’ve enjoyed and the lessons you’ve learned from reading them, perhaps some of that passion will rub off on them.
2. Schedule your reading time
Humans are creatures of habit. And although it can sometimes be difficult to cultivate a positive new habit, once it’s set, it can become just as difficult to break it. Everyone’s weekly schedules differ, but I think that most of us are able to set aside 30-minutes a day to enjoy a good book.
It’s also important to make sure that your child always has a book on the go. The second they have finished one, take them to the bookstore, bookshelf, or library to pick out a new and interesting title.
3. Keep books on hand
It’s important to make sure your child has easy access to books. Keeping a bookshelf (preferably one that is bigger than your television) stocked with a wide variety of titles that will both pique their interests and challenge their intellect is a great way of passively stoking your child’s interest in reading.
For those of you who prefer a more modern approach, you can keep an electronic device such as a Kindle loaded with a digital library that will keep your whole family busy all year round.
4. Let them choose
Letting your child choose a book that will captivate their imagination is a crucial step in helping them build a lasting relationship with reading. Whilst I am sure many of us would love to see our children pouring over the works of Leo Tolstoy or George Orwell, the truth is they would probably find a copy of Twilight far more engaging.
5. Discuss their book
When your protégé has found themselves engrossed in a good book, engage them in a conversation about what they are reading. Literature can be a great way of opening discussions on some ideas you might not usually touch on, it can also give an opportunity to recommend other books with similar themes.
6. Keep a record
Personally, when I have finished a book, I like to place it back on the shelf to be displayed almost like a trophy (much to the amusement of my family). Whilst it might not be necessary to put all the books your child has read on show, keeping some kind of record might offer some motivation to your teen to keep reading due to the sense of achievement that comes with it.
Reading is an unquestionably integral part of a child’s education. Building a positive relationship with the written word is something that will benefit anybody throughout their academic, professional, and personal life. And while we might not be living in one of the easiest times to encourage our young people to pick up a book and start reading, reading still offers all the joy and intrigue it ever has.
Useful words and phrases
· hands down: without much effort : EASILY “Elon Musk is hands down the richest man in the world”
· time-honoured: honored because of age or long usage “In the UK, we celebrate Christmas with the time-honoured tradition of a turkey lunch.”
· Buzzkill: one that has a depressing or negative effect “We were having great fun at the party until security came and told us to keep the noise down. It was such a buzzkill.”
· rub off: to become transferred “You should be careful swearing in front of your kids. Bad habits like that might rub off on them.”
· creatures of habit: used to say one always does the same things in the same way “First thing in the morning, he makes a cup of coffee while complaining about the traffic. He is such a creature of habit.”
· on the go: in the process of being completed “He’s a busy man. He’s always got some kind of plan on the go.”
· pique interests: to make someone interested in something and want to know more about it “When they told me how much money was involved, it really piqued my interests.”
· captivate imagination: capture someone's attention “George Lucas really captured the imaginations of an entire generation with the Star Wars movies.”
· Protégé: someone who is helped, taught, or protected by an important or more experienced person “As the principal’s protégé, my math teacher knows how to effectively manage a classroom.”
· integral part of: A very important part of something “A good selection of fruits and vegetables are an integral part of any healthy diet.”
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