Build Your Child's Interest In Reading

Tips and suggestions on how to increase a child's interest in readond, regardless of what age they are.

Some children are naturally drawn to reading and need no creative invitation into the world of books. However, some children appear disinterested in reading and place little significance on exploring the vast array of children's literature available to them. By learning creative ways to introduce books and reading into a child's life, you may find you have a bookworm you thought didn't exist.


Consider the book collection your child has access to. Is it too small? If so, invest in more reading material. Is it overwhelming? Choose a small number of books to have out and put the rest away, remembering to rotate the books often. Is it age appropriate? Take note of the subjects of the books and cross reference them with your child's interests. If you don't see any books that match your child's interests, it's time to expand your child's collection.


Remember to make use of your local public library. For young children not yet attending school, a library is a special treat. A library is a great resource that can expose your child to literature not available in their own collection. Additionally, letting your child choose their own books to bring home is another way for you to learn what subjects might interest them.

Libraries are also a great place to take part in story time or other reading programs. A talented storyteller who makes use of dramatic play may turn your child's views about reading around. There are various reading programs available, especially during the summer months. Check with your local library to see what they have to offer.


Another way to spark a child's interest in reading is by making a reading reward chart. The system can be set up any number of ways, depending on the child's interest and age, but works best when a reward is given after a certain predetermined number of books is read by the child. The reward does not have to be treat-oriented (candy, money, etc.) but can be choosing a special dinner, video, or to stay up ten extra minutes later than normal. It is important to realize that the purpose of this reward system is not to make your child feel as though the only reason for reading is to get a reward. The intention is that during this reading time they will find interest in pieces of literature, subjects, characters, or authors that will make them want to read more - reward, or not.


One way to make reading especially fun is to designate a special area in your house just for reading. Some families create a reading space by purchasing child sized furniture and letting a child be in charge of decorating the area. Others try creative spots like tents or tunnels for reading. The theory behind this suggestion is that some children may take up a book just to hang out on the cool furniture or inside the reading tent. In time, they may discover a favorite book and become comfortable in their own literary interests.


Much success is often found in having a designated reading time. Not only is this a great way to introduce books with no outside distractions (television, toys, phone calls) but it is a simple way to squeeze family time into the day. If a family is strapped for time together, kids will find comfort in that fifteen minutes they know they can be with Mom or Dad - even if it means listening to a book!


There are children who simply aren't interested in reading. And although reading is an essential skill to have, your child's interest in it should not be over emphasized. There are children who are quite good at reading, but simply have no desire to do it unless it is required. For some individuals, it will take finding the right book, the right teacher, or simply reaching a certain maturity level before reading takes over as a source of enjoyment. Others will simply only read when it is asked of them by a teacher or other educational figure.

There is always a possibility that your child's disinterest in books lies in not being able to read due to a learning disability. Some children who are dyslexic, for example, will not read because it causes frustration for them. If you think a learning disability might be the cause for your child's lack of reading enjoyment, consult your pediatrician, teacher, or other childhood health/education authority.

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