It’s a scene we know all too well: you try to get your kids to read a book and you’re faced with a groan. Parents will sometimes force kids to read a minimum amount of pages per day, but is that the right approach? It seems like it has only gotten harder now with tablets and smartphones being so prevalent and a much more enticing way to spend time for more kids. However, here are some tricks that any parent can try to not force their kids into reading but rather encourage them to.
Dammert Dammert, who works at Encantos, a publishing company for children’s books that focus on multimedia stories and diverse characters, shared: “Kids want to feel seen and heard. They want to see themselves in the books they read.” It’s time to start seeking out books that can be more relatable to them, especially if the ones they’re exposed to at school feature characters and stories that seem a million miles away from their own lives.
Let Them Choose
It can be difficult to let your own childhood favorites go, especially if your kids aren’t showing any interest in them. Dammert says that a great way to get kids reading is to let them choose what they actually want to read. You can of course veto any books that seem inappropriate, but kids will more likely read more if they are enjoying what they’re reading and they feel like they have had a say in the book that they’re reading. Dammert says: “As much as we want to pick the books they have around, they need to figure out what they like.”
Don’t Rule Out Pictures
Of course, sometimes our own egos get in the way of things. If you feel like your child is supposedly “too old” for graphic novels, you might want to think about the fact that graphic novels are a great way to get kids who don’t like reading into books. Dammaert says: “It might not be what you want as a parent, but as they read, you’ll see their tastes evolve.”
Do It Together
Reading is usually a solitary activity, but your child might not like that aspect of it. That’s why you can read books together and make it a fun, cuddly activity. Dammart suggests: “When you’re reading together,” Dammert advises, “ask questions as you go. ‘What did you notice on that page?’ ‘Did you see that?'”
She continued: “Make it funny, do voices, change lines to see if they’re paying attention — that always makes my kids laugh — and in general, just try to be engaging,” she says. Finally, the key to making reading a regular thing is to — wait for it — read regularly, with a designated time and place for the activity. “We make it a cuddle moment. It can’t be a rushed activity. We take a breath and let the day go, then move into storytime. It’s a nice release of tension in the evening before bed.”
Use Car Time For Story Time
Getting kids into books can take many different forms. Traditional books are great, but have you thought about getting them into stories via audiobooks? Best of all, you can all listen to an engaging audiobook together while in the car. You can even start the book in the car, and once they’re excited to hear the rest of the story, continue at home, whether it’s with a paper version of the book or more audiobooks. Kids can also listen on their own with headphones if they prefer to listen by themselves.