In today’s world of television, videogames, mobile devices, and computers, it is easy to
see how children might see sitting down and reading a book as a boring alternative. But
reading outside of the classroom can expand a child’s horizons, reduce stress, improve
school achievement, foster creativity, and improve memory. Learning to read for pleasure
early can lead to a lifelong hobby that is proven to make you sharper, more engaged, and
How can you cultivate a healthy habit of reading in your child outside of the classroom?
Make sure that you child has appropriate access to reading materials. Parents
often can’t afford an extensive collection of age-appropriate books for their
children, but there are a large number of resources for children. Take your child to
the library regularly and allow him to pick out books that interest him. If you
don’t have easy access to a public library, contact your child’s teacher – schools
and classrooms have large selections of books and teachers often know the most
popular books for your child’s age group and interests. Also encourage trading or
borrowing books between friends so that they can discuss what they’ve read
Set a good example. Why would your child think reading is fun and rewarding if
none of the adults around him do it? Establish a quiet time for reading in your
household or read aloud to your children at night as a family. Pick one book that
interests everyone in the family to pass around.
Talk to your child about reading. Ask your child about what he’s been reading
and what he likes or dislikes about it. If you read an interesting passage or line in
a book, share it with your child. To improve reading comprehension, discuss
writing styles, character motivations, and themes.
Offer rewards or join a summer reading club. Although reading should be its
own reward, it can be tough for children to understand that concept initially.
Jumpstart your child’s reading habits by joining a reading program at a local
library or setting up an award system that rewards time – spent reading.
Push back bedtime. One way to make reading more palatable is to offer it as the
only activity your child can do past bed time – if your child is allowed to stay up
for an extra hour if she is reading quietly in her room, you may have a child who
is reading for an hour each night. Of course, it is important that you child still
receive an appropriate amount of rest each night.
Don’t force reading. As soon as a child sees something as a chore, he or she will
have the tendency to push it away. Also don’t force your child to finish a book or
read a book of your choosing that she is not interested in. For better results, guide
your child to appropriate materials and generally encourage your child to read by
sharing the many benefits of reading.
Remember that everything counts! If you child is interested in comics, pick out
a few challenging graphic novels for her to read. If your child loves sports, pick a
biography of a great athlete. If your child is intimidated by larger books, order
some magazine or newspaper subscriptions that would interest him. All types of
reading material will improve their reading comprehension and other skills.