Getting Your Kids to Read

Some Hints for Parents

After having spent a great deal of my working life trying to get reluctant readers to read, I feel I may have a few pointers to help you in this task. You’ll probably think that some of what I have to say is bleedin’ obvious. Sure it is, but sometimes the bleedin’ obvious gets overlooked. So here goes.

  1. Lead by example. This is easier said than done but it is SO IMPORTANT. If your kid sees you reading every day, and enjoying it, he (I’m going to use ‘him’ all the way through this, although ‘her’ is just as important) is much more likely to want to read too.
  2. Make sure some of what you read is humorous and relevant to your kid and share what you have read with him. This can be the comics in the daily paper, a funny limerick you download from the computer or something relevant to his interests.
  3. NEVER make reading a punishment or chore. But you can set realistic goals for him to achieve (some unenlightened parents call this bribery), eg minor rewards for achieving obtainable goals set by you both (talk these over and set them together) and a larger reward when he really does make it through to the next level of achievement.
  4. Read to him or with him every night. Make sure he is in bed at least half an hour before sleep time and READ. (This means you might have to miss – or record – part of your favourite TV show).
  5. And while we’re on the topic of TV – turn it off sometimes. Limit the watching time. Allow for favourites but make sure your routine includes a daily quiet time for reading, when the TV is off and everyone in the family reads.
  6. Don’t let him talk you into listening to his ipod or any other music while reading. A reluctant reader needs full focus on reading, with no other distractions.
  7. Visit the library regularly. Make it an enjoyable time where he can choose his own books with your guidance.