Sometimes the relationship between parent and child can feel like a battle of wills. For many, the war is bloodiest when asking kids to trade their phones for a book. Big tech companies are working overtime to hook our kids, after all. Meanwhile, parents know reading is an essential skill our children need to succeed academically and later in life.
But how can we motivate reluctant readers at home when apps are scientifically-designed to be so addictive?
The good news is there are ways to motivate even the most reluctant readers in your life. If you can commit to a little work, there's a chance you can turn things around so you child builds a regular reading habit.
Here's how we recommend you get started. Remember, it's small changes made over time that make the biggest difference in the long run...
Set aside time to read each day
There's a reason we keep using the word habit.
If you can make reading a part of your child's routine, they'll learn to accept reading as a non-negotiable part of their day. Start with 10-15 minutes of reading time per day, then gradually increase that time when you notice your child's reading habit starts to take hold.
Let your children find books THEY want to read
We get so focused on making sure our kids read the right books, we forget young readers will improve their literacy skills with nearly any book parents can get in their hands.
Work with your reader to find books that interest them at an appropriate reading level. Help them to discover new genres and authors. Learn about the power of hi-lo books and the benefits seen when kids read graphic novels.
If you want to see your child become a bookworm, watch to see what books grab their attention. After all, if we're to turn reluctant readers into avid fans, eventually they will need to enjoy the books they're reading.
Create a reading-friendly environment
There's a reason teacher's build classroom reading nooks. They work!
A struggling reader can't be expected to do well if their phone is within reach and the TV is blaring from the next room. When young readers fall behind, it's often because they find they can't stay focused on the page. These kids need a quiet reading place devoid of distraction.
A comfortable spot to settle in with good lighting is a plus, too.
Lead by example
Let your child's daily reading time become YOUR daily reading time.
Parents who read raise children who read. It really is that simple.
While we urge parents to avoid offering rewards that will make kids view reading like they view other chores, there's no reason you can't provide similar incentives.
Think of ways to make the reading experience more enjoyable. For instance, pairing snacks with reading time is a great way to motivate reluctant readers as they will eventually link the high of eating yummy treats with the books in their hands.
Make reading a social activity
When children discover reading is something they can share with a friend, they are far more likely to treat it as a recreational activity. And while this may seem like a difficult task, it's likely you can pass this one off to someone else. Most local libraries have book clubs for kids that meet regularly to discuss what they're reading and participate in fun activities built around the titles they've read.
Let us help!