Reading is fun, but when seen as a chore, or forced to do so, it can become boring or hated, especially for children. So how do you foster a love for reading in children? Here's five tricks on how to make reading fun.
Let children read things that interest them. Yes, you may wish your children would read Dickens or Shakespeare, but any reading is better than no reading. Reading A Wrinkle in Time, a book on dinosaurs, or even comic books is better than hours in front of the TV. Let your kids read books that interest them, and they will naturally branch out into new styles and topics as their interests develop.
Keep books around the house. Don't keep books on the bookshelf in the corner. Put a couple of books on the coffee table, on top of the remote. Use bookends, and stand 4 or 5 different styles of books as the centerpiece on the kitchen table. Buy a headboard with cubbyholes to store books for your child's bed. (Also buy a clip-on LED reading light, so they can read after you turn out the lights). Casually having books in front of your children throughout the day makes it more likely they will pick one up and start reading.
Make a game of reading. Have your child read a book, then answer questions about the book (if you have multiple children of similar age and reading level you can make this into a competition). For every right answer they get something: a night off a chore, $5, the ability to pick one dinner meal for the week; be creative. This means you have to read these books too, mom and dad.
Read with your kids, even before they can read themselves. Kids are much more likely to read if you read with them. It enforces positive feelings about reading, and is a great way to spend time with your children. Ask them questions while you read to get them thinking critically. Let them pick the book and take turns reading each page out loud. Soon you will be fighting to get your child's nose out of the book.
Write stories with your kids. Let your child decide a topic for a story, then take turns each writing a few sentences to a paragraph of the story. When finished, have your child read the story to you. If you have multiple children, have them create a story together then let them read you the story, or act it out as a play. This helps strengthen their vocabulary and makes reading more fun, because they helped create what they are reading.
The best way to foster a love of reading is to develop the love at a young age. These are just five ways to help get your child interested in reading, and you will be surprised to find yourself reading more too.
Dani Blanchette is the creator and photographer for the travel blog GoingNomadic.com. A lover of reading since childhood, she now travels the world telling stories for others to read. Originally from Maine, she currently expats in Medellin, Colombia, South America.