Tips for Hooking Kids on Reading

It is a pleasure to see children read and the opportunity is there for everyone, but for some children reading is difficult and we want to make it a fun activity rather than one where the child is pressured to do it. Never insist that your child read if they are not interested.

Find out what your child is interested in and find lots of books on that interest. Have books in every room of the house, including the bathroom.

If you have bedtime stories, first let your child know that you will tell him/her an oral story about when you were younger, they always love to hear those stories and then they have to read a short story to you. If your child tells you a story about something they are really interested in,show some enthusiasm about the tale and ask your child if they want to write about it and make it into a book. (you may need to transcribe if the story is long and the child is having difficulty).

After a story is read, children love to retell stories by using clay or play dough. It is a good time to invite a few of your child’s friends and recreate the whole story or a few pages with the clay.

Kids really enjoy making and using story boxes. After a story is read, get an old shoe box with a lid on it and decorate it on the outside with pictures from the book. Inside you will have characters made from paper or other materials which relate to the story. If there is anything you can put in the box related to the story that is real such as a plastic duck if the story has a duck in it, this would add realism to the story. The child can then retell the story with the story box instead of with the book and have lots of fun doing it.

Children love to read story books in lots of unusual places such as under a nice shady tree, in an old refrigerator box with a flashlight, sitting in a small tent whether it is in a backyard, a park or even in the house. Why not even try reading under an umbrella when it is raining cats and dogs. You may want to have a large umbrella and a book that is laminated. I have a book on birds that is ideal for this and the children just love it and there are no worries about getting the book wet.

Writing has a major relation to reading and if children have a great interest in writing, this will eventually help with their reading. Have a nice space set up with lots of writing tools such as special pens, pencils, colored pencils and markers and plenty of interesting styles and colors of paper. These materials can then be placed in special containers that will catch the child’s attention. (I once used an old teapot with 2 matching cups. I put the writing tools in them and ‘voila’, instant magnetism.

Getting children hooked on reading is not always easy, but there is always potential in everyone, we just have to keep looking for it and hopefully children will want to read because they enjoy it.