7 Ways to Get Your Child to Love Reading

Developing a life-long love for reading starts early, and comes with lasting benefits including advanced literacy and comprehension skills. One study even found that the number of books in the home is a top predictor of whether or not a child will attend post-secondary education. 

Just this past November, a literacy report out of New Brunswick found that only 59.9 percent of kids in Grade 2 met the standard of reading. In the age of easy access to entertainment, encouraging children to read can be a challenge as parents compete with TV, games, and other technologies. Here are some of our tips on how to encourage your child to love reading, from library visits to audiobooks.

1. Model Good Reading Behaviour

We’ve all heard that children learn by example. They identify with their parents’ habits from an early age, and countless studies have confirmed that children learn through imitation. Therefore, a child who sees their parents not only set time aside to read but enjoy doing so will want to imitate this behaviour by reading their own books. Children need to see reading as a fun, enjoyable and even leisurely task to want to pursue it in their downtime.

2. Bedtime Stories

Children’s imaginations are boundless, just waiting to be filled with wondrous tales of lands far, far away. Reading before bedtime can create a life-long love for reading as their imaginations explore their favourite stories. Additionally, keeping this reading time routine will make it an effective time to boost their vocabulary, concentration skills and ability to retain knowledge. In time, they will start asking to read specific books to re-spark their imagination as part of this routine.

3. Read to Them

Reading to your child has several proven benefits including greater parental-child attachment, increased communication skills, and further development of listening skills. Reading to your child exposes them to a greater vocabulary and offers both of you the opportunity to discuss new words and stories at leisure.

4. Audiobooks

A 2016 study on listening and reading comprehension found that participants retained the same amount of information – whether they read the book or listened to an audiobook version. Listening to audiobooks is a great way to introduce several different opportunities for reading to your child. Additionally, it eliminates barriers to reading including outdated language and difficult vocabulary, while still letting your child enjoy the material.

5. Go to the Library

Visiting the library is a great way to get children excited about reading, as they get to pick from a seemingly endless stream of stories. The Calgary Library even hosts family storytimes each week, offering a great opportunity for both of you to share a love of reading with other children and their families. Libraries also allow children to get their own library cards, which is a great exercise in responsibility.

6. Read the Book, Then Watch the Movie

We all enjoy a good book-to-movie adaptation, just as we all grumble when our favourite characters suddenly don’t feel familiar onscreen. Reading a book with your child and then having a family movie night is a great opportunity for them to work up to a goal and compare the differences once they get there. Watching the movie afterwards can also help children learn visualization, as they’ll see what they read come to life. Some favourite book-to-movie adaptations for children include Matilda, Charlotte’s Web, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

7. Creating a Reading Nook

Parents and teachers alike recommend creating a reading nook. Making a designated reading space can encourage your child to seek out reading time themselves. Kids love small unique spaces and use their imaginations to make the space their own, so why not bring this logic to a reading nook? Like any of us, children like spending time in nice environments and will hopefully come to see this space as an opportunity to read for fun. 

Reading for fun will translate to a passion and capability for learning, setting the stage for a child to excel in school life. Here at Asasa, our junior kindergarten, kindergarten, and elementary school programs give children the building blocks they need to develop a love for reading, with our full-day programs giving our teachers more time to work with your child.