Tuesday, 23 October 2018

How To Raise A Reader: Tips For Getting Kids To Read

Tips For Getting Kids To Read

I love spreading the joy of reading, even more so when it's to children. It's a special feeling as an author when someone tells me they read one of my books to their kid and the kid asked to read it again... and again... and again.

Beginning a child's favourite author is one of the best feelings ever. You become part of their magically journey to becoming a future reader and book lover.

For today's post I wanted to share some ideas for how you can encourage a love of reading from a young age, and raise your own bibliophile. 

Read to them/together

Introducing kids to books at a young age is the first step. It's never too early to read to them. I started reading books to my kids when they were babies. It was soothing for them to hear my voice, and as they got older they knew that books meant quite time to snuggle with mummy. 

Just because they might be too young to read themselves doesn't mean they won't enjoy being read to. 

Rhyming books tend to go down particularly well with younger kids. Books by Julia Donaldson were (and still are) household favourites for us. I know The Gruffalo off by heart from having read it to them so many times. My kids do too.

Explore alternative ways of enjoying a story

Not got a lot of free time to sit and read to them? We all lead busy lives and finding the time, and energy, at the end of a busy day is not always easy. The good news is you can still build your child's love of reading by getting them some audio book versions. My kids loved (and still love it) when they have an audio CD to go with the book. These are great for the evening to get them to relax before bed. You tuck them in and let them fall asleep listening to the story. 

Encourage independent reading

They should also have the chance to "read" for themselves as they get older. There are a lot of cardboard, and plastic covered soft books available. These formats allow the child to explore the book by themselves without the risk of damaging it or hurting themselves (no paper cuts :)). Perfect for toddlers.

Make reading fun

Interactive books are great for younger kids too. There are lots of books out there that have different textures and materials on the pages, buttons to press, etc... Some even come with a built in puppet to make reading time extra fun. They all have in common the fact that they teach the child that reading and books are fun.

Go beyond the book

Another way to encourage a love of books in children is to create activities to go with the book they're reading. This is why I set up a board on Pinterest to go with my children's picture story book The Box (check out the board here). It's packed with ideas of crafts you can make with a simple cardboard box. 

I'm not the only one that thought to do this. 

Jennifer Miller (@jlmiller516 ) from  shared this will me:
"I make reading into an event with my three-year-old. When we read Blueberries for Sal for the first time we made blueberry muffins. "

I've also had reviews posted to the Amazon page of The Box that comment on this. Here's an example of one of the reviews:

"The Box took me right back to my childhood and my children's childhood. Now, I can read it to my grandchildren and tell them how I played with a box and how their Mom or Dad did. Jo Linsdell has written a fun book with illustrations that will touch your heart and take you back in time. It has just the right number of words and sentences to connect to your toddler's imagination and stay within their attentive span. When I get a new book for the grandchildren I often bring something to go with it like seeds and a shovel for a book about a garden. How neat is this. I will only need to find a discarded box! Imagination is a wonderful thing to promote. This really does deserve 5 stars."

Jennifer Miller (@jlmiller516 ) from  also had a suggestion for slightly older kids. 

I teach graphic memoir at a university. To get students engaged I have them create their own graphic memoirs. They love it and get a better sense of how to read a memoir when they write one.

Visit the library

Take your kids to your local library when you can. A lot of libraries offer group reading sessions and other activities. It also means you'll have a large supply of reading materials to discover. Our local library is specifically for children (you can take a behind the scenes tour here), but many libraries have a special children's area.

Let them pick their books

Whilst you can suggest books you think your child might enjoy reading, it's best to let them choose their own books.

My 10 year old loves reading the Scooby Doo mystery series, as does his 7 year old brother. In fact, they often read them together, and have read most of the series. Here's an example of one of the books. Whilst the eldest is at an age where he can read more grown up books (less pictures, more text), he still enjoys reading these. As long as he enjoys reading I don't care what type of book he chooses. He has plenty of time in the future to discover other books for the older age range.

Show YOUR love of reading

Kids learn by example. If they see you reading, and enjoying/talking about books, they will most likely want to read more themselves.

Books are a big part of my life and so my kids have grown up seeing me reading most days, and a house full of books. They ask about the books I'm reading, especially if it's one they have an interest in themselves e.g. The Percy Jackson series.

Whilst we don't go into details about the thrillers I read (I don't want to scare them), they will ask what the book is about and I'll give a very simplified version to them. They will then ask every so often if I've worked out who did it.

They get particularly excited when I manage to read a book in one sitting. To them this means I have some kind of super power, and usually leads to a discussion about the book, reading, and/or books in general.

How To Get Your Kid To Be A Reader

Got any tips of your own for turning kids into readers? Have you tried any of the above mentioned tips with your own kids?

You might also like:

Write comments
  1. Thank you for the tips to get kids to read more

    1. My pleasure. Encouraging children to read is something I'm passionate about :)

  2. Some excellent tips here, such a great post

    1. Thanks Jade. Hoping people will find these tips useful for getting their kids to read more.

  3. I have tried with my son, but he only likes the computer. My girls like to read though.

    1. Have you tried with books about computer games? Or maybe books featuring some of the characters he likes from the games he plays. My kids favourite book at the moment is one about Pokemon characters. They spend hours looking up Pokemons to find out more info about them.

  4. I used a special colorful reading hat - it was the only thing that worked for a little girl who wouldn't sit

  5. I read to my children from when they were babies. As adults they all enjoy reading, though my daughter reads far more than my sons. My grandsons always get books as a Christmas present from us and my eldest grandson loves reading. I think it is important to let them discover their favourite Genre as they grow. Unfortunately I do feel that this is an area that schools can put children off of reading. By using books that will excite them rather than forcing the classics, I think they risk discouraging children from reading for pleasure. (there is merit in the classics, I don't deny it. I just think that encouraging the reading of current works, is more likely to develop a desire to read more)

  6. Wonderful post :-) I'll pick up your book for my daughter!

  7. I love this! My husband and I read all the time so I hope our daughter follows in our footsteps ❤️

  8. My kids enjoy reading, and my teenage son and I even recommend books to each other .. he loves it when i read a book he asks me to and enjoy it..

  9. I have three sons. The eldest 22, has never been interested in reading. He did read a footballers autobiography a few years though. The middle one, 15, would rather poke his eyes out than read, though as a child he got through numerous non-fiction books. The youngest 13, loves reading and can get through a book quicker than me. All were brought up the same. I just wish they all loved reading.


Interested in my work and services?
Stay in touch