Surveys show that reading enjoyment drops more than 50% from Kindergarten to 4th grade. How can we encourage kids to read during those crucial grades?
When I first read about this I was really surprised! Then I thought about my own children and their reading habits.
To my little ones, I can read the same books over and over. They’ll let me read for an hour and not want me to stop.
As they get older and start to read simple words, reading gets even more exciting for a time. They’ll ASK me if I’ll help them read a book and not want to stop when I tell them how good of a reader they are.
Now that my eldest is reading on her own, I can see her appetite for reading change. When she has trouble reading bigger words, she gets discouraged and often wants to stop. Combine that with the draw of electronic devices and I can see how the allure of reading diminishes.
10 Ways to Encourage Kids to Read
Here are some of the ways I’ve helped her get over those reading hurdles and kept the love of reading alive in our home.
1. Story Time
It’s not just for preschoolers! I have 2 designated story times during the day. Right before nap time I read books that are for my younger children, but my eldest still likes to listen in. Then in the evening I take some time to read books that my eldest likes, but sometimes my younger children like to listen to that too. So my children end up getting 2 story times that are about 10-20 minutes long.
Many parents stop story time after children are reading on their own, but they shouldn’t! Research shows that reading aloud to children improves comprehension, listening skills, increases test scores and makes reading more enjoyable. Not to mention the fond memories they will have of your time together.
2. Be Dramatic
Story time is good for you too! It is time to practice your theatrics to reduce stress. Put up all the stops with sound effects and changes in your voice; the more dramatic the better. I like to get out all my frustrations out through my performance and let loose; be silly. It makes me feel so much better and my children beg for more stories!
3. What do They Like?
When choosing books, the best are ones are connected to your children’s interests. Do they like spaceships? Fashion? Football? Jokes? When my children see a book with something they already like on it, they are more likely to pick it up and take a peak.
4. Create a Reading Nook
A special place that attracts children like a magnet is what I think of when I hear the word ‘reading nook’. Have lots of books in and around this special place and your children can’t help but read.
Just as important as having a special place to read, is having a special place to display the books. You might have books on a bookshelf, but that is where they are supposed to be. Start getting creative and display books in fun ways around the house.
6. The Three B’s
I’ve greatly increase the number of places I have books and that has helped my children want to read more often. Try filling baskets and putting them in the three b’s; the bedroom, bathroom, and breakfast table.
7. Special Snacks
Entice children with their favorite snack and getting them to read will be as easy as putting something on a plate. You can make the snack a reward for stubborn reluctant readers.
8. Set Challenges and Rewards
Speaking of rewards, developing a home reading program is as simple as getting a chart and setting a goal. Once your child reads for so many hours or reads x number of books, reward them with something they really want. It could be money, a toy, new books, what ever motivates your children the most.
Take advantage of it. Although I don’t recommend reading solely on a device, it is a great way to motivate children to read! Most storybook apps have interactive features and activities that really engage readers!
10. Party Time
Celebrate the act of reading by throwing a book party! It could be as simple as reading some books and having a snack with friends, or it could be the talk of the town complete with a cake and presents!