How to develop a reading habit in a child?
As parents, teachers, and caretakers, we want our little ones to be motivated to read, but how do we do it?
In this post, we will cover a lot regarding how to develop a reading habit in a child. We’ll talk about how to encourage and motivate children to read and tools which can help you that!
Let’s get into it!
(Full disclaimer: There may be some affiliate links in this post where I get a commission (at no charge to you) if you choose to buy a product or service.)
Importance of Good Reading Habits In Children:
Is it even important to develop a reading habit in your child?
Let’s quickly touch on some great benefits that come from reading. And if you want more check out my full list of the 12 great benefits of reading 30 minutes a day.
Better Brain Development:
The human brain continues to develop and grow until a child’s twenties.
Now, what exactly is growing and developing?
Don’t worry I won’t get too scientific here. Just think of neurons as your brain cells. The more the better.
More importantly, the more connections between your various brain cells, the better.
Thus we want to help our child develop more neural connections during their childhood and youth.
Reading is one of the most powerful ways to do this!
Think of developing a reading habit for your child as getting them a headstart (above their peers) in developing their brain.
This isn’t unique to just children but the effect is much more profound compared to adults. Reading helps you grow your vocabulary and language.
Thus a little reading every day (15-30 minutes) has shown to increase future reading scores and comprehension.
Once again, developing a reading habit early can help your child get a head start. A better vocabulary now can lead to a better understanding in their future. This will surely help them in performing well on school tests and college entrance exams.
Currently, the child’s mind is not only easily distracted – our world also makes it increasingly difficult to focus.
With all the phones, tablets, and TV’s that are “stimulating” your child, reading can help them refocus on being attentive to one task.
Depending on the age of your child this focus can be as simple as sounding out letters to form words. Or it could be being attentive to the plot, characters, and main idea of the book.
Better Practical Knowledge:
Here’s the truth – schools don’t teach enough about the real world.
Sure your child will learn math, how to write an essay, and the basics of chemistry. But they won’t necessarily be taught directly about emotional intelligence, leadership, friendship, finance, and more.
Now your child may be too young to worry about the above topics, but building a reading habit now can help them learn these valuable skills for themselves.
I know this for a fact – I’m a direct result of it. My parents were immigrants will little English and world knowledge. But they did work hard to develop a reading habit in me.
Using this love for reading, I then found a love for both reading and learning. Anything I felt the education system was missing – I would read about it.
This effect can only really be present if your child develops a thirst for learning and reading.
How To Encourage and Motivate Children To Read:
So now that we’ve touched on the benefits of developing a reading habit in a child, let’s talk about some ways to actually do this.
Make Reading A Daily “Fun” Activity:
Making reading isn’t difficult if you make it appear like a treat – which it is.
Here are a few ways to do this.
Take your child to the library and have them pick out one book for the week. Now you as the caretaker do the same.
Each evening, dedicate 15-30 minutes where you both read together with your selected books.
Need help teaching your child how to read? Check out this great book with awesome reviews from Amazon!
If your child is a bit older (and more behaved) you can take daily trips to the library or local bookstore and read there.
Making it a scheduled event will make reading feel natural in their lives. In addition, doing the habit with them will help them want to replicate this reading habit.
Focus on Rewarding The Right Thing:
The common approach in parenting to increase an action, is to assign a reward to it.
For example, “If you read your book, we can go to the movies.”
But this reinforces the movies as being rewarding and not the reading.
Thus instead focus on rewarding the correct thing – reading.
Now it’s going to be difficult to use reading as a reward for a child who doesn’t like to read often.
Instead, focus on reward their behavior when they are reading.
“You’re doing such a good job picking out great books”
“I love that you’re able to have some amazing takeaways from your reading”
“Wow you learned that by yourself? That’s awesome!”
These statements are rewarding what you see as a by-product of reading.
Doing this naturally over time will help your child seek that praise. They’ll realize the benefits of reading and seek to do it more.
Develop Interests Prior To Reading:
Kids need to have a “why” for doing something. So if you tell them to read then will surely ask you “why” they have to.
But if your child develops an interest for something then they’ll spend days and weeks obsessing over it.
You can do the same with reading.
For example, take your child to a museum in the area. Have them roam around and find something they think is cool.
Whenever possible, try to have them read the descriptions to each exhibit.
If your child mentions something is interesting, capitalize on it! Talk about how interesting you find it too. Consider questions you may have that the description doesn’t answer.
Doing this can motivate them to look it up themselves. Who knows, they may just go down and endless reading hole of books on that topic!
Get Their Own Library Card:
There’s nothing more likely to develop a reading habit then giving a child something that’s there.
I still remember the first time my dad got me my own library card. I felt so empowered. I could pick whatever book I wanted and go whenever I wanted (as long as I had a ride).
So help create the reading habit in your child by getting them their reading “credit card”.
Don’t have a library nearby? Perhaps grab a cheap tablet or device such as this one, and dedicate it for them to read on.
You can combine it with great apps such as Scribd to give them thousands of books in their hands.
Tools To Help You Motivate Your Child To Read:
So we’ve talked about a few great and practical ways to develop a reading habit in your child. Now let’s talk about some tools which can help you do this!
Put Me In The Story:
What better way of developing a reading habit in your child than making them the star of their own book?
In Put Me In The Story – your child can now have a personalized version of a best-selling book!
Just check out some of the great examples which can easily become bedtime stories and perfect for reading time.
Check out Put Me In The Store here.
Imagine having the entire library for your child in the palm of their hands.
That’s exactly what Scribd is.
Not only do you have thousands of books that you can access instantly on show on your tablets or phones, they also have audiobooks which they can listen to!
For a crazy low monthly rate, you can avoid trips to the book store and give your child unlimited reading potential.
Try it for 30 days FREE here.
Let’s offer a free tool in case the money is tight.
Overdrive is a free app which requires just a library card to access.
Then you have access to thousands of ebooks, audiobooks, and options for your child!
Check out Overdrive here.
Not sure what book your child will enjoy?
Check out Wonderbly to get some great recommendations for a child of any age.
This website was around when I was a child and I’ve seen several kids still use it today!
Not only is it perfect for your new reader, it has games and activities to help them with math, English, science, and art!
Check out ABC Mouse here.
Hope you enjoyed this post about how to develop a reading habit in a child.
If you have any questions, make sure to comment below!
You may also enjoy the following posts!
How To Read More Books This Year (Ultimate Guide)
12 Benefits of Reading 30 Minutes A Day
How To Read Faster For School
Thanks again for reading!
Now go out and read more…