Children learn how to read in school, but rarely discover how to enjoy reading. Reading is quickly associated to homework and obligation. This situation is easy to understand when we see how teachers are busy with the school curriculum. They cannot always provide their students with appealing and highly motivating reading material. For that reason, it becomes crucial for parents to help their children value and appreciate the reading experience.
Here are some easy ways to help your child enjoy reading:
1. Experience a variety of books
Many educational specialists recommend having a variety of reading material available at home: novels, encyclopedias, cartoons, magazines, textbooks, and so on. Having access to a variety of genres and styles makes it more likely that your children will try or explore a different genre.
2. Use technology
E-readers hold many files, making it easy to read and share many texts on-the-go. The e-book market is in constant growth, which means here are more items than ever before for both children and adults available for purchase. Therefore, it can be a good idea to purchase an e-reader and use it as a reading tool for your child. However, there are a wide-variety of e-readers available, so be sure to research your specific needs (such as battery life, cost, access to e-book stores, etc.) before making a purchase.
3. Tell the history behind the book
It is useless to have a huge and beautifully decorated library filled with books that are of no interest to you or your family. Own books that you are interested in reading! Each book in your library has a story (or funny anecdote) attached to it. Share these stories with your children. Talk to them about how and what you heard about this book and what made you buy it.
4. Act as a good role model
You are being a good role model when you:
- Engage in the reading process in front of your child
- Read anywhere and anytime you have a chance to do so
- Appreciate what you read and you share it as often as possible with your family
- Participate in conversations and debates related to what you’ve read
- Laugh and cry sometimes while reading
- Feel free to skip few pages or few chapters when needed
5. Engage in co-reading
Co-reading is an original and fun way to develop the interest in reading. First, you choose a book that you both like and enjoy. Reading aloud together is always fun and exciting. For example, you can take turns reading one paragraph each. For more experienced readers, co-reading can be reading the same book at the same time, but in separate locations. To share the reading experience with your child, you can ask questions about the content, discuss the moral of the book, or guess what will happen in the next chapters.
6. Hunt for award-winning books
Choosing your reading material from a list of award-winning books helps you and your child find reading material that comes highly recommended. Both you and your child can go through the list, pick one book from the list, and try it.
There are a number of online resources where you can find lists of Canadian award-winning books including
- Young Adult Book Award from the Canadian Library Association
- 2011 Award-Winning Books at the Atwater Library
- Golden Circle Award Winners on Amazon.ca
- The Canadian Children’s Book Centre’s “Best Books for Kids and Teens” Fall 2012
- And more!
7. Visit your library on a weekly basis
When you go to your local library, do not hesitate to ask for help from the children’s librarian who is trained to help you locate the appropriate book for you specific needs and interests.
Reading can become a valuable and interesting experience for your child when they see how much you enjoy it. Do you have other tips to help your child enjoy reading?
Bchira Dhouib, B.Ed.
Director of Education