Finding new ways to get kids excited about reading is something we’re passionate about at Reading Mate. We want to inspire the next generation of readers.
Before we get into it, did you know we have resources to compliment books available on the Reading Hub app? Here’s one for Susin Nielsen’s We Are All Made of Molecules to get you started. Perfect for KS2 reading fun.
Good reading skills benefit children academically, but this isn’t the only advantage they bring.
Reading can increase attention span, develop a diverse vocabulary and lead to strong critical or analytical thinking skills. Reading is a fundamental skill that can lead your children on the path to lifelong success.
Overcoming that uphill struggle
At Reading Mate, we know that your child’s reading development is important, but we also know it can be a challenge.
Encouraging the right behaviours and inspiring your kids to get excited about reading can often feel like an uphill struggle.
That’s why we’ve compiled some helpful suggestions to help you get started, including some things you can do right now to inspire a motivation to read.
1. Lead by example
Children will often imitate their parents’ behaviours and learn by example without even realising. Guide them to follow your example by remaining positive about reading.
Suggest a trip to the library with the same enthusiasm as you would when suggesting a visit to the park, the zoo or the beach.
Your child will begin to associate joy and excitement with picking up a book or discovering a new story.
2. Read the book then watch the film together
Don’t underestimate the power of visual stimulation. Your child likely has a wild imagination.
Seeing their favourite stories and characters represented in the real world in a live-action setting could create a deeper connection.
This will foster analytical and comprehension by encouraging your child to understand contexts and identify or compare different story mediums.
Don’t forget to discuss the film afterwards. Question them on the differences between the characters they imagined in the book and their on-screen counterparts. Ask what they would have done differently if they had made the film.
3. Keep them curious and ask them questions
Ask them to review the last book they read for you, or for their siblings and friends. Question them about key elements. What was their favourite character and why?
Be careful not to overload them with too many questions. Just one or two will be enough to develop their critical thinking skills. Remember, the main goal is to get kids excited about reading, not bore them!
Try to answer their questions too. If you don’t know the answer, research and find out together.
4. Try audiobooks
If your child doesn’t read often but enjoys regularly listening to music, suggest an audiobook.
Audiobooks count as reading too. They could open a new route into reading for those children who struggle to concentrate.
Many authors and well-known celebrities record for audiobooks. Chances are, you’ll discover stories read aloud by your child’s favourites; this will encourage them to listen.
5. Create a designated reading spot in your home
Set up a space in your home (or garden, in the Summer) that is specifically intended for reading books. Just as the kitchen is a place to cook, your child will associate this area as a place to read.
This could be a reading nook or an allocated area within their bedroom. Having somewhere special to read will make it a special activity and will get kids excited about reading in no time.
Draw inspiration from your local library and Pinterest boards to theme the area around their favourite story or book.
6. Keep books accessible
While a dedicated reading area is great, get in the habit of keeping books in every room too.
This doesn’t mean loading up on bookshelves, but it does mean making sure books are easy to reach for little ones.
Keep some waterproof books in the bathroom, cookbooks in the kitchen – try to represent reading in each room of the house in some way.
7. Encourage noting down new or difficult words
Buy a notebook that your child can decorate how they like. Whenever they come across a new word or one that proves difficult, ask them to copy it into their notebook.
Then, after reading dust off a dictionary or ask Siri or Alexa for their meanings. This notebook will gradually build up over time and increase your child’s vocabulary.
It will also make reading less scary and ensure your child doesn’t give up whenever they encounter an unknown word.
8. Read aloud
This advice is perhaps not best followed in the library, however reading aloud is known to improve social skills.
Encourage your kids to read to you.
Reading aloud while looking at the words on a page can forge connections to grammar and vocabulary.
This will help to cement the stories, words and language within your child’s memory.
9. Stay up to date with local bookshop and library events
Many bookshops have designated kids book specialists. They also hold events which can range from author signings to story time sessions with popular book character mascots.
Libraries provide similar events and activities, check with your local librarian. They might have some additional ideas on how to get kids excited about reading.
It’s worth trying to attend upcoming events as it’s a great way to socialise too.
10. Talk to librarians
Speaking of librarians, don’t forget they are a fountain of knowledge, ask them for recommendations. Their expertise can be a valuable tool in your child’s reading journey.
Build a friendly relationship with them. That way, a trip to the library will feel more like a social visit than a chore.
11. Use books as tools to explain big life events
Use books as guides for your child’s development. Are they potty training? Then read them books about potty training.
This will aid them in their understanding of the subject and may answer questions they might be afraid to ask.
Is a family member getting married or having a baby? Is a loved one in hospital? Or, are you thinking about getting a dog? Ask other family members to read with them too. They may have a different perspective to offer them on a particularly difficult subject.
Incorporate all these things into your child’s reading around the same time as these potential events. That way, they will be mentally prepared for these changes, even if they don’t quite understand them yet.
12. Re-read books
Anyone with a little one knows how frustrating it can be re-watching the same YouTube nursery rhyme or same episode of Peppa Pig.
However, your child develops language skills this way.
Repetition works so consider re-reading books, especially with younger children.
13. Start a book club
Another great way to encourage reading is to make it social, ask other parents you know whether they’d like to start a book club. This is a great way to get kids excited about reading.
You can meet for a coffee, while your children read aloud to you, their friends and each other. Remember to encourage discussion about it afterwards.
Or, if your child is already addicted to screen-time, hold your book club via Zoom or Skype.
14. Don’t forget about magazines and comics
Sometimes the bite-sized nature of a magazine or comic is more palatable to a child.
These days, comics aren’t all about superheroes either, there are a wide range available for all ages and reading abilities. There are even non-fiction books presenting in the form of comics or easy to digest magazines.
Think of them as picture books because that’s essentially what they are. When your child looks at a book, they might get overwhelmed by paragraphs and blocks of text.
A magazine (which can often be educational too) or a comic will feel like less of a hurdle for them. However, your child will still be reaping the same benefits that come from reading a book. We think a great example is The Phoenix.
15. Create a calendar
If finding the time to read proves difficult, consider scheduling your child’s reading time.
You could do this by picking out selected evenings for bedtime reading. Include rewards for reading consecutive nights in a row.