Early literacy is one of the most important ways to get kids more excited about education and learning. Reading is the skill most kindergartners will work on first, and is the base for learning more knowledge in future.
With most people, but especially with children, appealing to intrinsic motivation works far better than external motivation. In other words, the child should want to read the material, and it shouldn’t be treated as a necessary chore or homework. The single best way to encourage a child to read is to give them access to materials that interest them. A child who loves gymnastics will be happy to devour books about the subject, and will relate better when they have material that excite them. Allowing the child’s own interests to lead the way is a powerful way to get buy in from the child in question.
Make it Easy
Always start slow with reading. Illustrated works can make a big difference by making the material more accessible without overwhelming kids with long paragraphs of nothing but words. Other things that can help make it logistically easier for the child: Large type books, books physically small enough for them to hold themselves, and board books so the pages are easier to turn. Give them the support they need, and encourage them when they get things right.
Check Their Needs
If the subject interests them and the book is not overly hard for them, yet they still are not jazzed about reading, it might be time for a trip to a Calgary eye center. Relatively minor eye issues can turn reading into a chore, under otherwise optimal conditions. According to Crowfoot Vision Centre kids who squint and who have trouble making out words can easily have these problems corrected with glasses. Children might also have trouble reading if they don’t get good instruction. Check with their teacher to make sure they are keeping up with the class and get extra help if they need it.
For most children, it really is not hard to get them into reading. Just get them books on topics they are interested in, and in a format that is physically and mentally easy to handle. When that is not sufficient, look for underlying problems, such as a learning disability or vision problem. When reading is both fun and easy, children are happy to read, and hopefully won’t need much encouragement.
One thought on “Room for Reading: Ideas for Getting Kids into Books”
This is an interesting article! My 6 year old is pretty good at reading, but because he’s in first grade, we are required to read every night. It’s difficult to motivate him when he just doesn’t want to read. I will definitely be using these tips!