It’s easy to see why most children associate reading with schoolwork. Virtually everything they do at school requires some degree of reading comprehension, and since schoolwork is often viewed as the antithesis of fun, there’s little wonder as to why kids generally aren’t keen on the idea of reading for pleasure. Fortunately, parents and educators looking for effective ways to get kids interested in reading have quite a few options at their disposal. Even with a plethora of screens constantly vying for their attention, children can be surprisingly amenable to regarding reading as a leisure activity — provided, of course, parents and educators are willing to put in the work.
Select Reading Material That Interests Your Kids
One of the reasons children are hesitant to regard reading as a leisure activity is a lack of interest in certain reading material. Since they’ve come to associate reading with schoolwork, many kids believe that most books are academic in nature. If your children are holding fast to this mistaken assumption, it’s high time you proved them wrong. When seeking out suitable reading material for your kids, look for books whose subject matter is of genuine interest to your little ones. For example, if there are specific genres or types of stories that appeal to your children, keep an eye out for reading material that makes use of them.
You may also want to give your kids the opportunity to select their own reading material. If every book they read is foisted upon them by parents or teachers, reading is practically guaranteed to feel like an obligation. On the flipside, if they feel they have a say over what they read, they’re likely to approach things more amenably. This isn’t to say that kids should never have to read educational and/or historically important texts, but allowing them a greater degree of control can be essential to fostering genuine interest. Additionally, to ensure that the material comports with your children’s age brackets and reading levels, make a point of using leveled books.
Be Open to Comics and Graphic Novels
Some children are more likely to embrace reading if they have colorful illustrations to accompany the text. This is where comics and graphic novels can serve you well. With the growing popularity of superheroes and comic books as a medium, many kids are far more likely to jump at the chance to read graphic novels than traditional books, especially outside of the classroom. While not quite the same experience as making your way through a novel, reading comics can prove helpful in bolstering children’s reading abilities and helping them become interested in the written word.
Lest you think graphic novels are exclusively the domain of superheroes, you should know that there are scores of comics designed for younger audiences — many of which have nothing to do with caped crime-fighters. “Bone,” “Aquicorn Cove” and “Princeless” are all examples of graphic novels designed to appeal to newer readers.
Institute Designated Reading Time
Even though the goal is to get children to read of their own volition, many kids are unlikely to engage in reading without a little bit of structure in place. If this describes your little ones, consider instituting a designated reading period each day. This period should last between 30 minutes and one hour, during which time all screens must be shut off and your kids must be actively engaged in reading. However, some people have seen success with reading periods as short as 15 minutes. Since children often crave structure and routine, beginning this period at the same time every day is generally a good idea. While you’re liable to experience a lot of pushback early on, your kids will soon come to accept reading time as a part of their everyday routine.
Although most kids accept the fact that reading is an essential part of education, a fair number of children are loath to regard it as a leisure activity. To a point, this is understandable. After all, children — and adults, for that matter — have an enormous assortment of readily-accessible entertainment options at their disposal. Still, this isn’t to say that kids are incapable of being entertained by reading. With the help of the previously discussed pointers, parents and educators can help children appreciate the wonder and majesty of the written word.