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How to get your child to love reading | Little By Little

Getting your child to love reading books can be one of the most daunting tasks as a parent. You're afraid if they spend too much time glued to the TV instead of buried in a book they will fall behind in school, setting them up for failure for the rest of their educational attainment.

But before jumping to conclusions, know that it is completely normal for your child to resist reading. That's you you should introduce this practice early on in life, and develop supportive techniques and strategies to get your children to love books at a young age. Below are some helpful tips and tricks to get your child to love reading on their own.

Let Them Read What They Want
Don’t restrict your child by forcing them to read specific genres or topics. After all, our primary objective here is to get them to enjoy reading; it's not getting them interested in scholarly articles or Shakespearean tales. Don’t limit them by placing boundaries that may impede on their developing interest in reading. A good starting point are short stories for kids that are easy to read with plenty of pictures.

Let them choose books based on their personal interests. Even if there is no educational content behind them, let your child choose comic books or fictional stories if that's what they are interested in reading. These children’s reading books will spark a deeper appreciation for stories that will later convert into a stronger liking for other genres. As a parent, you want to facilitate the relationship your child develops with reading. By encouraging these practices, you can create positive habits at a young age.

Make a Memorable Experience:
When it’s time for your child to select a book, take a trip to your local library or bookstore. Let their imagination run wild with the untold stories behind each unique cover. They will quickly become fascinated by the endless rows of novels piled high on wooden shelves. Having them physically involved in the book selection process will ignite a spark before ever reading a single page.

Practice Shared Reading:
If your child has persistently rejected reading, try making it more of a combined activity. Either switch off back and forth out loud or separately read the same book as your child and then do tell backs after each chapter. Most children will be less hesitant if you are there to guide them along the way.

This open communication strengthens a child’s interest in reading and creates a safe and comfortable learning environment for them to succeed. By actively discussing the premise of the book, your child will also learn how to process and retain information at a faster level.

Practice What You Preach:
When children develop learning and social skills, many of these characteristics are acquired through observation. Taking a closer look at reading specifically, a parent can be a critical role model that reinforces the importance of reading books. With that being said, as the parent you should read books in your free time instead of turning on the TV when your child is present. If you have a positive relationship with books and your child picks up on that, chances are, they will be more willing to try it themselves.

Provide Incentives:
Some people are just more incentive driven, and the same goes for our little learners. Whether it’s a later bedtime or an after dinner treat, incentives can be a beneficial strategy to reward your child for good behavior.

For a stronger approach, create a points system that correlates with the number of pages they’ve read. Once your child has completed a certain amount of points, they will be rewarded by choosing a fun activity for the entire family to enjoy.

Make the Time:
Your child's main concern is probably playtime, so don't expect them to schedule a portion of their day for reading on their own. That’s why it’s important that you as the parent set aside time into your busy schedule. Whether it’s 20 minutes before dinner or right before bed, find a stable routine that both you and your child can remember.

A child doesn’t develop a love for reading overnight. It takes time, patience, and dedication for their love of books to blossom into something wonderful. Start with small steps to build a solid foundation, then use that interest to develop a greater passion for reading kids books.

Do you struggle to get your child to love reading? Have you found any short stories for kids that your child has loved? Share your experiences and questions in the comment section below!

Date Published: March 29, 2017


Date Published: May 03, 2017


Nickie Kluge
Director of Marketing and Communications
Heluna Health
(562) 619-4664
Little by Little School Readiness Program is a program of Heluna Health.