Like many of us we would rather swap the book for the gadget and this is no different when it comes to your child. According to the Department of Education in 2014 ‘one in five children cannot read well by the age of 11’ (1) also England is the only country where ‘16-24’ (1) reading skills are a lot lower than that of their older citizens. While I’m not a parent its almost frightening how not too long ago it was myself that needed to learn to read and was told the importance of maintaining a good level of reading. Let me share some advice on how to get your child to read more. When thinking about this at first I wouldn’t know straight away how to get them to read more but thinking more about it, it’s actually easier than you think it just takes the right determination to help them read more.
Firstly, give your child a specific time to read and spend it with them. This could be the bed time story before bed or after tea time. This will get your child used to reading and will start doing it out of habit. I understand that old habits die hard but routine will certainly help the process. It is recommended that a child have a routine for things like sleeping and eating, but why cannot this be the same for reading? In my opinion it is needed just as much as both sleeping and eating. Just like it is healthy for a child to get a certain amount of hours of sleep it is also important for them to get a certain amount of time reading. It has also been the classic way recommended to get your child to read it was the way I was taught my mum would always after school and in between helping me with homework try and get me to read this method just had to go first in my opinion it has been the traditional way and in some ways you could argue it works having that quality time dedicated to reading will get your child used to it. They may start getting into it without even realising.
Secondly, often associated with incorporating reading into their routine, try and find and something they like so reading is associated with fun. There are even apps where you can put a lock on their phone or gadget to ensure you’re given this time- like before their bed time or after dinner you can do this. Is there a TV programme they enjoy? Use subtitles to get them to read. Any films they like? Is there a book version available for their age? I would use this one more to get them to read while on holiday or during family time when you are watching a film together I would incorporate this alongside having time with your child dedicated to reading. I think it is a more subtle way to get them to read more especially if the problem is that when you try and focus on reading it is not as successful it is something to try in the meantime. Looking back I remember a friend of mine who was not from England had used this idea to help her learn English, her English seemed fluent and so when I asked her why she had the subtitles on she said that how her English improves. I guess getting used to how the word sounds and as your reading the subtitles getting used to the spelling and pronunciation of letters could also be just as useful for your child as learning a language would in familiarising yourself with the words so not only have you got advice for getting your child to read more but also if they want to learn a new language too.
Technology doesn’t have to be the enemy when it comes to reading. Although it is a massive contrast to sitting with your child and reading it book you can do this with your child too and it may be an alternative your child may like. I have already mentioned the use of the TV and its enabling of subtitles so children can not only enjoy their favourite programmes but have fun doing so too. Although unlike when I was younger we now have the availability of eBooks and apps that highly encourage children to read.
I would have loved this when I was younger as for me it was mostly by the book we were encouraged to read and remember it wasn’t too long ago this had happen to me so this is a massive change in getting your child to read and in all aspects of education in general, when used positively can be a useful resource for reading that’s what you and your child may find. These apps also encourage children to enjoy their favourite films and TV programmes as books. Straight away I can tell you that Disney have launched an app where you can access books and as a reward you can allow them access to the movies and it is up to you if you feel that having the subtitles on is a way you like your child to continue their reading. The plus side with the inclusion of technology when trying to make your child read more is that unless you plan to take the TV abroad you could probably stick with the smart phone or the iPad, so not only is it fun it is also portable too.
Another way then you could get your child to read is by using pictures. I feel this is great especially for those at the start of their reading journey. I am sure we have all found reading boring at times , this may be how your child feels about reading have some pictures helps the child capture their imagination and really get into the story. I must admit even as an adult I would not mind the odd book with pictures in it me. Just like how they may prefer the gadget they also would like to be entertained by the story as would you pictures is certainly a way to go about this. You may find that when it comes to reading in some way your child is no different to you and vice versa. Pictures are just a bit of guidance enabling them to do this that’s all. Plus we must not forget as useful as they are they certainly keep your child’s attention captured even I can find at my age loads of words boring at time so you just have to keep making things as fun as possible for you and your child whenever you can.
A further way that has been suggested to help get your child to read more suggested by Pearson UK ‘joining the local library’(2). This I feel is great way to really find something they enjoy which is something I mentioned earlier as reading the book version of a programme or film that you know they enjoy to help make reading more fun. Moreover, many libraries holding reading weeks or months in which they focus their attention on trying to get kids to read and may be further guidance if you feel you are struggling in trying to get your child to read.
I remember when I was a bit younger was that there were reading challenges , some of these are aimed at children in secondary school or later in primary school but setting small goals with the help of the library can really help your child to engage in reading and can be rewarding too as some of these have prizes. I know when I was younger there was a summer challenge one to read a certain amount of books over the holidays doing this can earn book tokens or a gift card or a discount of books , they can not only be fun but extremely rewarding. Go to your local library and see if they have anything or if there is anyway they can assist you and your child in your reading journey. Either the library is a good resource I went when I was younger for good books to read that I would find interesting I remember my mum taking me there and it helped make me read more so this is a personal favourite of mine I would have also liked the idea of having the technology more involved such as eBooks but it is down to personal preference of course what method is working best for your child.
A way that Pearson suggested of which I would critique is to read their favourites over and over again. While there is nothing wrong with this I feel reading as many materials as possible will let your child see more words in different way and also learn about new stories and experience more adventures when reading which will also become beneficial. Reading the same book over and over again in my opinion may bore the child and may not fully engage them into the enjoyment of what they are reading. Wouldn’t you get bored reading the same thing over and over again too? So I wouldn’t personally recommend this for your child unless this was spaced out so that they can really appreciate it.
However the repetition I would agree with would be the repeating of sounds and phrases to help them to learn to read whatever the book they are likely to come over new words to widen their vocabulary but they should get used to the sounding of letters of similar words and phrases to get used to them this is vital in the child learning to read and why your child should read more.
A final way of trying to get your child to read which I have found and would like to comment upon is from the United States Reading is Fundamental Organisation which is one I didn’t think of and maybe one you may not have thought of either in trying to get your child to read. It is to become a good reader yourself
Being very honest here you probably might not enjoy reading as much as you would like to and this is exactly the same for your child. However hard you may try they are just not engaging but you cannot deny that parents do copy the actions of their children so it makes sense that by involving reading in the household and becoming a good role model for reading it is likely that reading will just become an everyday thing to them and maybe even to you. Not once did this tip come to mind when thinking about this but it seems so obvious they would see it as an activity they can join in and spend time with you doing.
The only critique I have to this is from when I was growing up, my dad was an avid reader but because he worked long hours reading was more for his downtime. I looked more to my mum who helped me after school but was not much of a reader herself. It is because of this contrast reading was not a huge part of my family life and I doubt it is part of many families but that’s okay. I feel as long as you incorporate some this advice when trying to make your child read it shouldn’t matter anyway in my opinion whether you are an avid reader or not. My parents are good role models for both encouraging me to read regardless of whether they read a lot themselves. It is just how you feel is best and what works for your child they may want to see you doing something first before they try to do or they may want you to help them along its just really down to opinion.
Having read this article you probably expect it to be from an adult’s point of view but I’m coming at it from a former child’s point of view I am not a psychologist parent or child expert but I do know that these methods can making reading a lot more fun it certainly helped me. It should be a time of fun learning and interaction. The child needs to feel like they are involved in the story not just being read at and being told how to make certain sounds or how to say certain words (not doubting of course that it is important). The tips we’ve discussed are tips I would personally recommend and some that I felt I would have liked to have also thinking back to when I was told the importance of reading and when my parents were trying to get me to read more.
Don’t forget to involve your child in the decision process if they are at that age to get them to read they may prefer one way to another.
It seems the most popular way to make your child read is your way. So far we have looked through so many tips ones that I have come up with and other ways people with considerably more knowledge on the subject have and have given opinion – but this is advice. You know your child the best the people writing these articles including myself do not that’s what we have to remember. These ways are great ways in my opinion to help your child read both on their own or carried out in a combination but it can only truly work if it is best for you and your child. For example do not feel you have to dismiss the idea of using technology to help your child read such as eBooks if you know your child is into their technology and you know it will help. Especially don’t be afraid to trial and error to test out combinations and what works and what does not work for your child as long as they are having fun and they are enabled to read more then you are doing the right thing. Please don’t also be afraid to ask for help this is as much of a journey and a learning curve for you as it may be that way for your child there is nothing wrong with asking just as there is nothing wrong with seeing how you are doing with the current method to try and make your child read that you are applying.
This seems like a very simple piece of advice and it is, it is just that many parents can struggle to get their child to read and face through it alone. Many people in my class unlike me from what I can remember from that time in my life hated reading and wanted to play outside but try to style out the tips which ever you follow into your family life and it should really help.
When I think about what I would have liked to have as a child to get me to read more or what I would do those but plenty of people may have other ideas. This has inspired me to express my opinion on some of the ideas to make your child to read more. I hope to take a different take and not simply just list things giving my opinion on these other takes to make your child read more may hopefully inspire you to take these on board, though we must remember I claim to be no expert.
The struggle of enabling your child to read must not be something you face alone. If your child just simply won’t pick up the book or turn over the page speak to your child’s teacher they may have ways of engaging the children you might want to grab hold of. This could be making sure the material being read to them is something they actually enjoy or it could be slowly getting them to read more and more each day. For example I may want said child to read four pages of the book one day and if this is completed the child will receive a reward for having completed this. Again it’s another way of associating reading with fun and making the reading a rewarding experience. Just do not feel you have to go through this alone.
It’s important that however you get them to read they are aware of why they are doing this and the importance of reading. It’s also a way of spending some quality time with them. Also remember to make it fun. I remember when my mum read to me she would put on voices and interact with me and help me through each and every page. Reading can be rewarding for yourself and the child but we must not forget the importance of reading in the future maintaining a much needed life skill and of course reading more can enhance the vocabulary too. This doesn’t mean to need to speak the queens English of course but it means in life they can succeed on the tough outside world.
So finally I want to wish the best of luck in your child’s reading journey whatever the method you use in order to help them to read I hope it works although whatever the method you must remember to make it fun. Reading at first can be a put off for most children as to them it is simply getting grips to a number of words but you must show them it is much more than that and that reading can take your child on a massive journey of discovery of which both of you can enjoy and which both of you can experience together in improving their reading skills and making their vocabulary much bigger as this will come in very handy in life.