A young girl in a gray sweater sits back on a bed, reading a red novel with many other books open around her.

Tips to Instil Your Children with a Lifelong Love of Reading

These days, it can feel like a struggle to get kids to read more books. With technology at their fingertips, books often can’t compete.

But there are many ways to encourage kids to read. From reading with them to letting them pick their own books, you can find an approach that works for your child.

Reading is important for children. It helps kids learn and grow, developing their imaginations, literacy skills, and vocabulary.

Of the many great indoor activities for kids in Ottawa, reading is near the top of the list for child development. Reading can directly influence academic performance later on in life.

If you’re not sure where to start, consider these tips to help your child learn to love reading and develop reading habits to last a lifetime.

Tips For Getting Your Child Engaged With Books

Let Your Child Pick Their Own Books

Children across all age groups are more likely to favour and finish books that they pick out for themselves. Kids need to develop their own tastes in books without pressure from Mom and Dad.

Bring your kids to the library and let them choose their books. Let them choose books from a school book fair or book flyer (anyone else remember Scholastic book fairs?). And always have books available at home for your child to read.

When it’s time to read at home, let your child choose what they want to read.

Include Reading in Your Child’s Routine

Reading with your child before bed is a good routine to help them unwind at the end of the day and develop a habit of reading.

If you start this routine early on, your child will become accustomed to it and look forward to reading each night before bed.

Give Books as Gifts

Books make for a great gift at any age, and when kids receive books as gifts, this highlights how special books can be.

If you’re unsure of what books to get your kid, go with funny books, or give them a gift certificate to a local bookstore so they can choose their own books.

Use Books as Rewards

As with gifting books, you can show how valuable books are by making reading time a reward for your child.

Instead of treating your child to ice cream for good behaviour, treat them to story time and let them choose which book to read.

Books are also a great way to soothe and distract when your child is fussy.

Always Bring a Book with You

Whether you’re waiting at the doctor’s office or riding on the bus, use this time to read a story with your child. Reading is an effective and entertaining way to pass the time.

Be a Role Model

One of the best ways to get kids to read is for them to see their parents reading. So set aside time in your day to read your own books. The more your kid sees you read, the more likely they will want to do the same.

Thinking Outside the Box

If the above methods aren’t quite cutting it, then it’s time to get creative!

Send Your Kid on a Treasure Hunt

Set up clues around the house that will ultimately lead your child to the treasure—a book.

The excitement of finding a book at the end of the treasure hunt will show kids just how valuable books are.

Follow Your Child’s Favourite Authors Online

If your child has a favourite author, check out their website for events, games, giveaways, and activities related to their books.

Consider Other Reading Material

Some kids don’t fall in love with reading books at a young age and that’s okay. There are other reading materials that might engage your child with reading that aren’t traditional paperback books.

Graphic novels and comic books are very popular amongst kids, youth, and even adults. And if your child prefers to read on an e-reader, that’s okay too.

As long as they are reading, they will develop the habit and passion to keep reading.

How Many Minutes A Day Should Children Read?

The amount of time spent reading will depend on your child’s age.

The average attention span of preschoolers is 10 to 12 minutes. So to keep them engaged in story time, aim to read short books in that window of time.

But this doesn’t mean a child should only read for 10 minutes a day. You can have separate reading times throughout the day.

How Can I Improve My Child’s Reading Level?

Shared reading time is an effective way to teach your child word comprehension.

You can point to illustrations, ask questions, provide word definitions, and help them to better understand the story, even if they don’t know all the words yet.

Reading with your child also exposes them to repeated words, which will help them memorize and understand the words better.

Keep your child’s favourite books in rotation so they can remember and retain more words with repeated exposure.

When Should You Start Reading To Your Child?

It’s never too early to start reading to your child. Even babies can enjoy an engaging, interactive storytelling experience with Mom or Dad.

But don’t force reading on young children. If they want to run around while listening to a story, let them.

They will eventually become engaged and willing to sit still while you read.

Try these tips for getting kids to read more. By finding an approach that works for your child, you can get them into reading early on. Reading books is one of the best indoor activities for kids in Ottawa since it promotes literacy and vocabulary skills along with creativity and imagination, not to mention a passion that will last a lifetime.