There is no parent who doesn’t want the best for his/her child. The world is so competitive that there is a constant desire that our children are able to meet intellectual demands of school and the society generally. I am writing this because in the past months a lot of parents have been asking me one question. “How do I get my child to read? He doesn’t just like to read”. When they say this, there is a lot of concern and worry on their faces. I want to help you overcome that challenge if you are in the category of these parents. I want to say also that reading may not be the hobby of the child as a result of personality traits and temperaments but you can at least help foster the desire in the child to want to read and love it. Follow these tips and let’s see how it goes.
- Read by Example! This is my first principle. Children are imitators. Check it anywhere. Parents who love to read would easily influence a child to read than a parent who doesn’t read at all. It is just the way children are wired. You as parents are the first role models for your children. They will do what you do.
- Read with them. I know some families have time they spend together. Rather than watch TV all the time, have a reading time together. Show genuine interest in their books and ask them to read to you. Discuss the book
with them. Laugh at the funny scenarios, relate the story to things that happens in your home and you will be amazed at how soon your kids will look forward to the next book.
- Understand your child’s personality. Children are very unique beings and their personalities are just taking shape. Know the child well enough to give books that will catch the child’s attention. When I started my readers’ club, I had to take into consideration the personalities in the club and then pick books that would catch their interests. If the child is very outgoing, restless and has a short attention span, a book that is very long and has no action that moves fast will bore the child.
- Book Shopping. Let them pick out the books they want. They will feel a sense of responsibility to read it. Let them be a part of the process. For us booklovers, the thrill of going to the bookshop is just the same thrill as when we sit to read. Let them learn to pick books and it is amazing what you discover about your children when you see the kinds of books that interest them.
- NEVER use reading as punishment! I want to plead with you never to tell your child to read as a result of bad behaviour. We do this but what we don’t know is that the child equates reading to punishment. This is not a healthy mentality.
- Reward their actions. When Kids know that there is a beautiful chocolate cake waiting for them when they get to the last page, you will be shocked at how quickly they devour the book.
Of course, this is not exhaustive. As a parent, you would understand your child better than I would and so you can employ other creative means to get the child to read. Please feel free to drop your questions and I will gladly give answers to the best of my knowledge. When you have tried these methods, please share your testimonies. All the best!