CREATIVE CHILDHOOD: 6 ways to inspire your child to read

15 February 2016
Reading time2 mins

To read is to dream, to escape, to imagine and to never be lonely. Here's how to give your child the gift of the printed word #lovebooks

Have you met a successful person who can’t read?

The answer is most likely to be 'No'.

Through reading, the brain learns new things and the heart feels new emotions. Anything is possible in a book. It's the ultimate creative escape.

So how can you help your little one to fall in love with reading?

1. Let your child lead the way

Is your child one of the many kids who doesn’t want to read? If so, there are so many things you can do to change that! Does your child love singing? Your child may prefer to read song lyrics of unfamiliar music instead a chapter from a book. Or your little one may love sports or cars, so have a look at a sports magazine your child might love. Alternatively, if your child loves art, perhaps consider comic books. Essentially, be innovative and think outside the box - don’t just think of chapter books. Tap into your child’s interests.

2. Make it a ‘rewarding’ experience … literally!

Be ultra-generous with your child when they read. Give them money to spend on books and give them really good rewards when they read. Most adults don’t enjoy going to work, but we do because we get paid for it. It’s often the same when it comes to kids and reading. Many kids don’t enjoy reading … it's hard! So give them incentives. The incentive doesn’t have to be fancy, it just has to be something your child likes - perhaps their favourite chocolate or time on the PlayStation. As parents, we love rewards, and so do kids!

3. Penalise your child if they refuse to read

Sounds harsh, and you may not receive a ‘Parent of the Year’ award from your child, but this really does work. Imagine if playing computer games or watching television was dependent on your child reading first for 10 minutes, it works wonders for their willingness to read.

4. Resist the urge to criticise

Don’t get stuck in the role of school teacher when your child reads. Nothing turns a child off reading as quickly as constant feedback and correction about their reading. Just like Queen Elsa in Frozen, sometimes we just want to scream and shout out what we’re feeling, but let’s do our best to use self-control! When your child is stuck on a word, immediately tell them what it is. Avoid making your child sound out words because it makes them really hate reading … And who can blame them? It’s what we don’t say that often makes reading more fun for our kids.

5. Keep it going through high-school

A teenager’s life often revolves around social media. This can be helpful for their reading skills, but it’s not going to grow their vocabulary like reading proper books will. Social media is more the ‘junk food’ of reading - it’s better than nothing, but it’s not exactly going to turn your child into a literary genius. High school kids usually have the skills to read, so parents need to find ways to help them get stuck into their reading as they get older.

6. Factor in eyesight and dyslexia/learning styles

It’s vital to have your child’s eyesight checked every two years by an optometrist, because most kids who need glasses don’t realise it until years later and this can affect a child's love of reading like nothing else. Also, ask your child what the words are doing on the page. If your child explains that the words are shaking, moving, wiggling or anything other than staying still, your child probably has a dose of dyslexia. There are plenty of easy ways to help your child if they are dealing with dyslexia.

How do you inspire your child to read?

For our recent fav books, check out at Max the Brave by Ed Vere or If I Could Paint The World by Sarah Massini. We are always adding to our book review section too, so keep an eye on it for inspiration and recommendations ♡

Written by

Michael Guy Clark

Michael Guy Clark offers free tips and advice for parents at Dyslexia Improvements. He's a happy husband and lucky dad of two kids and specialises in helping with dyslexia and other learning difficulties. Michael loves to find what children are interested in and then to create fun and easy ways to help kids learn. Michael is a school teacher and also leads Big Improvements Tutoring which is part of a movement towards giving parents tools to make learning easier for every Australian child.

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