Occasionally parents ask, “How can I get my son to love reading?” or “What can I do to get my daughter to start reading regularly?”
As a parent, we have a responsibility to be diligent in helping our kids find their way to reading paradise. Here are the three keys we’ve worked to instill with our children when it comes to reading.
Get Your Kids to LOVE Reading by Finding a Subject They Love
When I was a kid, I didn’t enjoy reading much at all. In fact, I didn’t read much until I was a preteen. Why? Because that’s when I was introduced to “V.” It was a TV mini-series about a band of resistance fighters who fought human-feasting aliens. Absolutely silly, but I loved the show. And when they came out with a series of novels based on the show, I had to have them. I went from barely reading at all to reading 300+ page books written for adults. I loved the subject and it made all the difference.
Thankfully, my parents didn’t stop me from reading because they didn’t like the subject themselves.
They realized it was the beginning of a beautiful friendship. So find what makes your kid tick—maybe a sport, a technology, or a certain animal, and then find books to match their passion.
Help Your Kids LOVE Reading by Finding a Format That’ll Ease Them In
That said, full-length adult novels aren’t where most kids enter the market. My own boys started regular reading with graphic novels. As boys, they’re visual, so the comic-like graphic novel was the perfect solution.
I was at the library one day and heard a mother steer her child away from the comics stating, “No, Henry, those aren’t real books.” Sadly, she missed an opportunity. Of course, in this genre, parents must check out the comic first to make sure it’s not too violent or filled with steamy images, but that aside, there are a LOT of great comics and graphic novels out there to get your kids interested in reading.
Format is also a reason so many parents appreciate my solve-it-yourself mysteries. In fact, my 5-Minute-Mysteries in Adventures in Odyssey’s Clubhouse magazine are consistently a reader favorite. Is it because of my literary genius? I wish. The truth is, they’re fun. They’re quick, easy and interactive. They have clues and sometimes involve science. They’re clever. Those things override any hangups a boy or girl has about reading. Before you know it, they’re “graduating” from a 5-minute-mystery to a full-length historical article. Then a book. It was all part of the plan.
Get Your Kids to LOVE Reading by Finding a Time That Works
Ask yourself when your child is most open to reading and make it easy to read at that time. It could be before they go to bed, as something to do before the TV is allowed to come on, as an in-the-car activity, or before their friends come knocking each day.
I even think it’s fine to let reading be a “chore”—because it’s a pretty fun one, and certainly within your child’s ability. When reading becomes a gate to other activities, and it’s something they know they have the power to do, kids will walk through the gate…and often linger to enjoy more than they’d planned.
Help Your Kids to LOVE Reading When You Make It Interactive
And, of course, there’s something about reading together that’s magical between a parent and child. Whether it’s five minutes before bed to help your child wind down, in the morning over devotions, or after dinner during a little family time, reading can be a family event. Alternate reading paragraphs, use funny voices…or just quietly read your own books together in the same room.
How do you get your son or daughter to enjoy reading time? You make it part of their life.
How have you helped your kids creatively enjoy reading time? I’d love to hear in the comments below.