As children get older, many lose interest in reading books. Sure they are still reading. And reading a lot. But the value of text messages, or skimming bits and pieces of articles just isn’t the same as sitting down to read a good book. For many kids around 12 or 13, reading has become a chore, a task to be done, something they only do if they absolutely have to.
The benefits of reading are undeniable, so how do we help kids to keep reading throughout their teen years and into adulthood?
7 Ways to Encourage Kids to Keep Reading
1. Make Reading a Reward
If you already have a child who doesn’t like to read, they won’t see it as a reward, so try to start this at a young age. A child may be scared to go to the doctor for shots or to start the first day of school. I know I was when I was a kid. But if you tell them they’ll have a new book waiting for them, or you’ll read one of their favorites once they are home this will encourage kids to keep reading. And it will give them a healthy escape when they are scared or stressed that will serve them well in adulthood.
2. Don’t Stop Reading to Them
I’m in my 20s and it’s been years since my mom has read to me, but if she offered I would gladly snuggle up to her and listen to her voice bring a story to life.
Whether or not you do voices, don’t stop reading to your kids. Just because they can read themselves doesn’t mean you can’t read to them anymore. Try reading books that are just above their reading level to keep them interested in what they have to look forward to once they reach a higher reading level. Or go back and re-read some classics or childhood favorites.
I would never say no if my mom wanted to read Stellaluna, Go, Dog. Go! or Where the Wild Things Are. Just to name a few of my favorites. 😉
If you have a child that is starting to lose interest, or already has, try reading to them.
3. Read Books Then See The Movie
Have a child who really wants to see a movie that’s based on a book? Tell them they have to read the book first, or at least let them know there is a book. If you think your child would respond better, let them see the movie first, and then encourage them to read the book. Movies can be a great way to encourage kids to keep reading.
4. Read Books about Their Interests
Is your toddler obsessed with beetles? Does your high schooler obsess over a certain band or T.V show? Is your child learning about something interesting in school? There is a book on almost every subject. Encourage your child to read up on things they are passionate about or to dig deeper into subjects they are learning in school.
5. Let Them Pick the Books
This may be pretty obvious but, once your kids are old enough, let them pick their own books. My 4-month-old can’t pick his own books so I’m used to picking for him. And I want him to read the best so I’m on lists of recommendations. I also read up about new books ideal for babies and toddlers. But there’s going to come a time when he may not want to read the books I would pick for him. And I’m going to have to let him choose his own.
Now, I’m not saying you should let your children read any book they want. Certainly step in if you think your child is reading inappropriate content.
6. Spend Money on Books
I grew up going to the library, and we always had library cards and a stack of library books in our home. But my mom also bought lots of books. Every year I would get a book for Christmas. It was always one of my favorite presents. Knowing that books were worth buying and owning, not just borrowing for free, helped me see the value of books and recognize their importance.
7. Make Reading a Game
Start by reading a book that starts with A and keep going until you’ve read a book that starts with every letter in the alphabet. Read books together and discuss the topics and themes. If your child can read, take turns reading a page or a chapter. Play fill in the blank by skipping random words and having your kids guess what the author wrote.
Do your children like to read, or do they struggle? Which of these tips do you think will be most useful?