Motivating Kids to Read
Getting kids to sit down with a book has always been a challenge for parents and other care-givers. Having to learn how to read often leaves kids feeling that reading is a chore, and children’s interests often outgrow their reading level before they have a chance to enjoy a really good read. Plus, modern distractions such as video games, the internet, and cable television not only draw children away from books and other self-motivated activities but can actually increase illiteracy by exposing them to the worst examples of the written and spoken word. The following are several ideas that can be used to inspire kids to delve into the magic of reading.
1. Know Your Kid
As much as you may want to share your favorite childhood book with your kids, if the subject or characters don’t resonate with them, that book will end up gathering dust. On the other hand, choosing what all the other kids are reading may miss the mark as well. Knowing what really grabs your child’s attention is a very important aspect of motivating them to read.
2. See A Movie
Wait, wasn’t this supposed to be about books? Well, many kids finally break into real book-reading by loving a movie so much they can’t get enough of it. A good movie based on a best-seller or children’s classic can really get them headed in the right direction. Do a little research first and make sure the book is both enjoyable to read and appropriate for the child’s reading level. See the film with your kid, have a bonding experience, talk it over afterward. If they seem really engaged in the story or seem to relate to the characters, steer them towards the book.
3. Comic Books
Yes, comic books. Especially for younger readers, simply feeling comfortable with the written word can be a struggle. The wonderful thing about comic books is that they tell their stories visually, and all kids love looking at pictures that tell a story. Comics lure them into reading with narration and dialogue, then get them hooked on the tale. The range of comic books on the market today is nothing like it used to be; there are even good versions of classics, like Tom Sawyer and Alice in Wonderland, done in comic book format. From the lowly dime comic to high-end art-house graphic novels, there is a comic book for every taste and reading level.
4. Read to Them
Kids of all ages love being read to. Your child may be old enough to read to themselves and may have even informed you that their bedtime book is “baby stuff.” However, if you are enjoying a book you think they may be able to read on their own, or even one that may be a bit challenging, try inviting older kids for a cuddle and a good story. Better yet, turn off the television one night a week and have a read-aloud “Story Night.” Choose something exciting, with old-fashioned cliffhangers, and see if they pick up the book on their own when no-one’s looking.
Reading is one of the true joys in life and a wonderful addiction. Interesting kids in a good book can sometimes take a bit of imagination and creativity on the part of family and teachers. That is, of course, the whole idea.
Donovan Shores writes about parenting, reading with her kids & saving money for her family at www.grouphealthinsurance.org.