How to Help Your Child Enjoy Reading

Updated on February 10, 2017
jpcmc profile image

I'm a dad, husband, and Christian first. The rest are just life's add-ons: an educator, administrator, learner, & development professional.

Why do some children enjoy reading while others don't?
Why do some children enjoy reading while others don't? | Source

Growing up, my dad took out one encyclopedia from our library and made us read a page or two each night. Although this was a habit that strengthened our reading skills, it was never fun for me. Oh, by the way, did I mention I was six years old trying to read material for high school/college students? I did not even understand half of what I read. Plus, the words I managed to barely pronounce, after a gut-wrenching effort, did not mean anything to me. Suffice to say, this was not how you make children enjoy reading. So, how do you help children enjoy reading?

Start Early To Help Your Child Enjoy Literature

If you want your child to enjoy reading, you have to start early. You might be surprised to know that there are pre-reading skills that your child has to have before they can actually read. Reading is not something you automatically do when you see printed words. As such, preparing your child for reading is a logical step to make your child enjoy reading.

  • Focusing – being able to maintain one's attention even for a short period of time is needed.
  • Left to right eye movement - in most cases, left to right is the direction of how people read. Of course other languages may have a different direction.
  • Vocalization of sounds - although reading is usually done with the eyes, children can appreciate words and reading as a whole better when they can associate the visual cues with their sounds.
  • Recognizing symbols – association of printed images with concepts. Reading is practically associating symbols with its meaning. Children need to understand that every symbol or groups of symbols represent a particular thought.

Suggested activities to improve pre-reading skills in young children

Infants:

  • Stimulate the child’s sight by presenting different toys and materials
  • Talk to the child for better recognition of words, phrases and sentences

Toddlers:

  • Show toddlers books and read to them
  • Point to words and say the word clearly

Many might raise their eyebrows if they are told to start early when it comes to reading acquisition. However, it is essential to understand that children need to acquire pre-reading skills in order to start reading and eventually enjoy it. These rudimentary skills and behaviors are necessary to start a life long love for reading.

Reading to your child is a great way for your kid to enjoy reading
Reading to your child is a great way for your kid to enjoy reading | Source

Children Enjoy Reading When You Read to Them

Reading to children at an early age can facilitate in making them read earlier and more importantly enjoy reading.

Reading early to children has numerous benefits. First, familiarity with the sounds especially the spoken language can reinforce their language development. Second, the visual cues associated with reading like the books, the pictures, and the written word help make reading a tangible and concrete experience. Third, reading to children creates a bond that is safe and secure for the child. This association of comfort and safety and reading can strengthen their love for reading.

Here are some reminders when reading to your child:

  • Pronounce the words clearly
  • Read slowly
  • Point to the words as you read them
  • Encourage your child to sound out words or even read as you read to them
  • Let your child repeat words after you say them
  • Change your voice, tone and speed to make it more engaging and exciting
  • Ask questions about the story
  • Talk about the story after you have read to your child

Reading to your child is a wonderful bonding moment. More than just the act of reading the cuddling (or at least the proximity) while reading, the interactions you make and the new discoveries through the books, it is the bond that is reinforced that makes this activity really special.

The Appropriate Books will Help Children Enjoy Reading

The right book will whet your child’s appetite to read more. Unless your preschooler likes solving differential equations or enjoys complex novels skipping on higher math or War and Peace is reasonable. Instead look for materials that are appropriate for his/her age. However, parents may have a vague idea on what is child appropriate for them. So here are some pointers when looking for appropriate books for kids:

  • Check the words used in the book – The words used in the book should be simple – using big instead of gargantuan, sad instead of morose or something similar.
  • Sentence structure – simple sentences like 3 or 4 word sentences using a simple subject and a simple predicate is ideal.
  • There should be pictures – depending on the age of your child, the book may predominantly be pictures. However, for older kids, there can be more sentences per page. In addition, the images should clearly illustrate the story.

Choosing the right material can increase your child’s interest in books. So find out what your child likes and provide him/her with the appropriate books. Start with what your child likes then slowly introduce other topics. This way, her interests can also expand.

oListParagraphCxSpMiddle style='text-indent:-.25in;mso-list:l0 level1 lfo1'>· Let your child repeat words after you say them

  • Change your voice, tone and speed to make it more engaging and exciting
  • Ask questions about the story
  • Talk about the story after you have read to your child

Reading to your child is a wonderful bonding moment. More than just the act of reading the cuddling (or at least the proximity) while reading, the interactions you make and the new discoveries through the books, it is the bond that is reinforced that makes this activity really special.

Do you have a reading time with your child?

See results

Make Reading a Habit

Forcing your child to read is never a good strategy. Rather, let your child get into the habit of reading. Perhaps a book or two a day then increase the number. However, to get to the point where you child is the one asking for books to read may take some time. One of the best ways to reach this stage is to make reading a habit.

  • Reading bedtime stories is a good start
  • Turn reading into a game – find me the work/letter
  • Go to book stores and look for interesting books – let your child pick out books he/she likes
  • Set a reading time with your child

Reading as a habit is better started early in life. My wife and I read to my daughter even before when was old enough to say the words. But we did this constantly and it became a routine in our family. Now, she is the one who insists in having a reading time. And at night, we finish 3 or for books before going to bed. This includes reading a portion of the bible every night. We are already at the Acts of the Apostles. By the way, my daughter is just 5 and her vocabulary is amazing. Her appreciation for reading is beyond our expectations. She finishes books faster than the rate we by her new ones. We owe this amazing feat to forming reading habits early on in her life.

Let your child repeat words after you say them:

  • Change your voice, tone and speed to make it more engaging and exciting
  • Ask questions about the story
  • Talk about the story after you have read to your child

Reading to your child is a wonderful bonding moment. More than just the act of reading the cuddling (or at least the proximity) while reading, the interactions you make and the new discoveries through the books, it is the bond that is reinforced that makes this activity really special.

Reading is an important skill to have. However, not all children have the capacity to enjoy it. I for one, got into the habit later than my daughter – probably because I was forced to read the encyclopedia rather than child-appropriate books. But the fact remains that children should have a deeper appreciation for reading. And parents need to learn how to make their child enjoy reading in order to help them. Kids love to have fun. This is how they explore the world around them. By making reading fun, it can become part of their routine and eventually find themselves enjoying and loving books more. However, one essential ingredient in making children enjoy reading is you! You have to make an effort so that your child will start enjoying books and appreciate reading even more.

Questions & Answers

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      • jpcmc profile image
        Author

        JP Carlos 16 months ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

        Hello there Dora Isaac Weithers,

        I am glad you came across this article of mine. I do hope you have a great time with your grandchildren. Reading together is a time well- spent with our family.

      • MsDora profile image

        Dora Weithers 16 months ago from The Caribbean

        JP, I'm a grandmother who can make very good use of these suggestions you make to help children (grandchildren) enjoy reading. Thank you very much.

      • jpcmc profile image
        Author

        JP Carlos 16 months ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

        Hi there Karen, It's nice of you to share your own experiences with your kids. Reading to your children can really create wonderful memories. The bonding moments are priceless. Thanks for the kind words about the hub and continue making awesome memories with your children.

      • Karen Hellier profile image

        Karen Hellier 16 months ago from Georgia

        When my children were little I always read to them every night before bed. We all looked forward to this time of snuggling and reading together. I read to my children through the 6th grade, even though they could read on their own I chose chapter books and read 1 0r 2 chapters to my twin girls before they went to bed each night. They shared a room and I chose classic books they wouldn't necessarily choose to read on their own. Nice hub with some great ideas.

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, wehavekids.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://wehavekids.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)