Reading is an invaluable tool and a necessary baseline accomplishment for success as a member of society. It’s something that is a crucial element to the early schooling of your child and which no school puts anything less than the upmost emphasis on. However, it is also a blessing and a world of opportunity for learning and escaping through all the wonderful literature and other forms of written language out there. From your child’s perspective, a lot of how they associate reading will come from you and how you portray it to them and motivate them to get to grips with it. So, let’s look at how you can build a positive association in your child’s mind and motivate them to get reading.
Allocate Good Periods of Time
Avid readers can pick up a book at any time of day under any circumstance and start reading. But that’s a rare talent that takes development. Having the time to really get into some reading requires a proper reading session. You should try and put aside a ‘reading hour’ amongst all the other activities in your child’s life, so that they have a scheduled routine and so they can clear their mind of anything else that could otherwise preoccupy them.
Read with Your Child
Children like to feel included by adults in things that seem grown-up. “It’s inspiring for a child to see that their mom or dad are as enthusiastic about the act of reading. Make that even more strongly felt by reading with them to create that sense of a shared activity that they can be excited about,” advises Lois Weiss, teacher at Writinity and LastMinuteWriting. You know when the child has their toy steering wheel next to the parent driving, or their little doll next to the parent holding the baby sibling? That’s the effect that you should be going for.
Create a Little Reading Room
It doesn’t have to be a whole room; it can be more like a reading nook. But the point is to allocate some designated space where all that is done is reading. “Having a reading space is a really big psychological boost to how your child thinks of reading and it’s likely to increase focus if they know that all they do in the space is reading,” says Harry Whitehouse, tech educator at DraftBeyond and ResearchPapersUK. Make sure the space is nicely designed, cozy and a pleasure to be in. This is another positive association that is very much worth investing in.
Don’t Push Too Hard
Reading can easily become a chore for your child if you aren’t careful. Pushing them to do too much reading, or to try and read at a level that is beyond them, is a really bad idea and will cause a lot of issues in the long run. Again, it’s about associations. Reading should be a joy, not a chore and being too insistent about certain things can be really dangerous for your child’s appreciation of reading.
Read to Your Children
Reading aloud is great for a couple of reasons. One of the most compelling reasons is that you are able to get them to experience material above their reading level that will nevertheless interest and thrill them. The second reason it is particularly useful is that you can start to create a love of stories and a desire to seek out stories in your children, which can really help to inspire them to read more further down the line. It’s also quite simply a great bonding experience for parents and children. Connecting with your child through the act of reading will help reinforce the affection they have for it and will build positive memories that will encourage them as they grow.
Overall, reading is something which can be quite easily introduced to your child as a worthy pursuit. Hopefully this list will show you what you need to know how to begin to build those positive associations for your child and to get them to start wanting to read for their own enjoyment.
Ashley Halsey is a professional author working at LuckyAssignments and GumEssays, writing on all sorts of lifestyle topics across the country. A mother of two children, she enjoys travelling, reading and researching the topics that inform her writing.