A Full Guide for Encouraging a Love for Reading in Your Children
Reading Time: 6 minutes

Literacy is one of the more important skills a child can learn and continue to develop. This is because no matter what, the goal and use of reading is of lifetime relevance, from reading road signs to contracts when they sign for their first mortgage. Sure, they don’t have to be Shakespeare to learn the basics, nor do they need a reading age well beyond their years to be successful.

However, instilling a love for reading can be very helpful. Reading is proven to grow critical thinking skills, the ability to retain information, and even sustain mental health. However, in 2023 it can be difficult for children to read. Short-form apps like TikTok and YouTube shorts can harm a developing mind’s attention span, while other more interactive mediums like video games can direct a child’s attention away from their school books.

Here is a realistic view towards helping your children with their literacy skills. With a careful view, a willing approach and a confident path forward, you may be surprised just how much ground you cover.

Liaise with Teacher

Of course, for the most part, school is the place your children will learn to read. However, not all children will develop at the same rate. This means that if your child is excelling in their reading, they may be put in an advanced class to help encourage their natural ability. If your child is struggling, they may recommend lunchtime support sessions or home study worksheets to help.

Liaising with their teacher so they understand the exact pace of learning your child is going through will be helpful. As a parent, this will help you understand any home support efforts you might wish to make, like reinforcing spelling practice or helping your child curate a natural love for reading by reading stories to them. 

These requirements can differ as your child grows up, but for the most part, the approach will be useful.

Utilize Worksheets

Worksheets are fantastic at breaking knowledge and learning down into manageable chunks, while also making that educational pursuit fun! For example, character analysis worksheets can help your child think about the characters in the books they read, and explore the growth they go through in the narrative, memorable moments and quotes, as well as traits.

This not only helps your child revise for upcoming tests or book reports but also inspires them to look at reading as a live, interesting habit, not just boring words on a page. It may just take a little more reflection, and the space to write down their own thoughts, that can make the most difference.

Encourage Extracurricular Reading

It’s easy to think that reading is a little stiff, especially because many of the books prescribed by English departments tend to be classics, books of import, or even older novels with antiquated language. They do this, of course, because they often showcase a more correct approach to grammar and the stories are often timeless, which is why they persist in the public imagination long after the author is no longer around.

However, it’s also true that reading isn’t about work and solely appreciating the greatest works, but enjoying the habit and hobby. This is the same difference you might have between enjoying a fantastic authentic meal at the local restaurant and whipping up delicious barbecue at home. Sometimes, convincing your child to improve their literacy is about instilling a love for the written word. Books can be written for them, as well, depicting the culture they know and characters they can relate to, as opposed to those who might be historical or seem very disconnected from their daily lives.

Get a Library Card

It can be worthwhile to make reading part of the culture of your household, and requesting a library card can be the best place to start. Libraries are free resources and they need to keep up their numbers to get funding, so you’re actively making your community a better place if you repeatedly visit and take books out.

Get a library card, and visit once or twice a month. Encourage your children to take out adventure books, non-fiction books, or whatever else is suitable and takes their fancy. This way, you systemize reading and excitement about reading into your household hobby-making. It’s not hard to see how that makes a difference.

Head to a Theatre Show

It’s important to note that while books are important, the stories they tell are hardly relegated to the page. It can be nice to head to a theatre show inspired by books you may be reading, or even films for which you can read the book first. This way, you can show your children how books are most often deeper, but also how rewarding it is to understand a story and then see someone elses’ take on it might present. 

This way, you show that opinions, takes, interpretations and perspectives matter, including your children. Heading to a theatre show actualizes stories you might be reading outside of the imagination. You may even be surprised just how well this allows your child to internalize the magic of reading.

Consider Fantasy and Fun Material

This might sound like a “cheating” method of teaching your children to love reading, but we’ll put it forward all the same. Some children, especially these days, are only interested in consuming media they can enjoy from their Xbox or Playstation. Of course, gaming is the biggest entertainment medium of the planet for a reason, and we’re not about to dismiss that.

That said, it might be that your child reads, and all the time thinks about how much better gaming would be. That s why it may take another approach for a child with this kind of mindset. For example, the “Halo” series is considered one of the better sci-fi video game shooters out there, and many gamers are familiar with it.

But did you know the Halo series has also published many novels, describing the universe, lore, adventurous stories, and even the difficulties of the characters within? Many of them are rated quite highly, and are penned by authors with pedigree. As you can see, a story explored in one medium doesn’t necessarily make it “inferior,” in fact, with a well-considered writer, magic can be created.

Sometimes, inspiring a child or teen to get back into reading means showing them that worlds and creative work they also appreciate can almost always be explored in books.

Start Creative Writing Together

Reading is just one half of the journey, being fully literate means writing as well. That doesn’t mean your child needs to write a full novel in order to be capable at writing or to simply improve their skills, but you can certainly show them some magic in creating their own stories, too.

A good way to start this is to write superhero or fantasy short stories together. You might discuss a fun character on the way back home from school, or perhaps come up with colorful backgrounds to your board game characters. Creativity shouldn’t be limited to school, it can be unbound in our personal time, too. A child learning this will no doubt find themselves naturally immersing themselves in this hobby, so the whole thing is more worthwhile.

Of course, creative writing can also involve little poems, or even writing a short script for a home movie you might film yourself over the summer break. Small expressions like this often craft the greatest memories, and cement this skill more adequately as time goes on.

Celebrate Comic Books

There’s a feeling that “learning to read” or “indulging in reading” means going out and picking up a paperback or even reading a large classic novel, but that doesn’t have to be the case at all.

In fact, reading can come from many different areas, and some may appeal to your children more than others. For example, comic books can be very appealing to children and teens thanks to their bright imagery and compelling characters and plotlines.

Sure, comics are mostly comprised of images, but they can also be quite text-heavy. This text is mostly dialogue and expositional prose, but at the same time, it’s fantastic to read. Comic books can be a fantastic method of transitioning into other forms of reading as well, such as the sci-fi novels we might have discussed above. These practices, developed in teen years, can lead to a lifelong love for reading.

People can come to reading through all manner of methods. It truly is a lifelong skill, and that’s why it’s so important to work towards it. After all, you wouldn’t have read this post without a cultivated version of this skill yourself.

It’s also important to note that reading isn’t always accessible or easy for everyone to start with. That’s why it’s so helpful to be diligent in your approach, to gently encourage your children who might be struggling, and to inspire a love for reading over an obligation to read words on a page. 

Who knows? With this advice, you might just have given your children the tools they need to thrive.