Research shows extensive reading not only increases children’s vocabulary, but it also broadens their knowledge and understanding of various topics that they will carry through life and, most importantly, school.
Reading for pleasure and interest isn’t as common a hobby these days. It’s all about technology and gadgets, and unfortunately, our children are the ones losing out. Every child learns and processes information differently; that’s why it is essential to use different approaches to encourage good reading habits and invoke a love of books.
If you’re struggling to get your child to read, here are some proven and effective ways to encourage pre-teens or teenagers to read and enjoy it without being too pushy.
Let them choose
The power of choice plays a huge role in encouraging older children to read rather than throwing them a book you think they might enjoy. Put aside your judgement for the greater good and let them choose topics according to their interests. It may also be wise to see what is popular at the moment in time. For example, a famous author may have released a new book, and it might be the talk of the classroom.
Try different formats
If your child doesn’t enjoy reading physical books, that’s okay; there are so many different options available nowadays to help encourage reading for enjoyment. Newspapers, magazines and comic books are the most obvious options, but why not consider audiobooks or eBooks. Audiobooks can expose children to more advanced vocabulary than they would attempt in a paper book.
Model good reading habits
As the saying goes - monkey see, monkey do. Children learn from what they observe, so if you’re excited and show enthusiasm about reading, the chances are your child will too. By letting your child see what books you are reading and enjoying using various formats, you will naturally encourage and promote reading onto them.
Reading should be fun, not frustrating. For reluctant readers with additional needs like dyslexia, for example, opt for books approved by the Dyslexia Association of Ireland (DAI). This way, the books will have been professionally reviewed with recommendations for specific age groups and abilities, making choosing a book much more straightforward. Audiobooks are excellent options for those with learning difficulties; reading with your ears has tremendous benefits.
Encourage reading moments
Reading isn’t just about sitting down in a quiet corner; it’s about encouraging reading at home and everywhere in between. Take advantage of the array of books available at your local library and make reading fun. Encourage them to bring their books on long car journeys, before bed, and even outside to you.