Reading for pleasure is a healthy habit for children of all ages as it benefits reading success, social-emotional development, and fosters well-being and relationships. While reading for pleasure has declined due to social media, television, and electronics we as parents can encourage children to read and ultimately, fall back in love with books! It is imperative for educators and parents to provide a wide range of reading materials to allow young readers to explore different texts and genres. It is important for children to make deep meaningful connections to the text, self, and the world around them. When children read books that leave an impact, they are more likely to continue reading!
Together as educators and parents, we can be role models and prioritize pleasure reading at school and in the home. Below are some helpful tips and tricks to encourage young children to reading for pleasure, but high school parents—we’ve got you covered too; you can find analogous tips here.
1. Visit Your Local Library
A trip to your local library is a fun and free way to encourage reading for pleasure! A quiet environment like the library is the perfect place for your child to explore, focus, and be surrounded by a literacy-rich environment. Many libraries also hold fun events on the weekends. For parents, this is the perfect opportunity to explore the library with your child and pick up a book for yourself. Find libraries near you here!
2. Create a Reading Nook
When in doubt a reading nook at home never fails. A comfy couch or corner can do wonders for a hesitant reader. Encourage your child to choose a book, get comfortable, and dive right into their reading. A designated reading nook will tell your child that reading is a priority in the home. A reading nook can also provide a sense of comfortability. By creating a specific area for reading you are telling your child that you have curated a safe space for them to explore.
3. Incorporate Daily Story Time
To encourage reading for pleasure at home, parents can incorporate daily story time. This may look like 10-30 minutes of designated reading time. For emergent readers, parents can read books aloud that are developmentally appropriate. Emergent readings will eventually transition to independent reading. While independent reading can be quite difficult, starting off with short time frames can help immensely. It is important to set reasonable time frames to ensure that your child does not lose interest, stamina, or focus.
Parents can also encourage daily story time with the use of reading challenges. Reading challenges may look like: reading a book aloud, reading in your pajamas, completing an entire book series, reading outdoors, and more. Tip-Top Brain held its first reading challenge series last year on Instagram. Students, parents, and Tip-Top Brain teachers participated in a total of 31 reading challenges.
4. Encourage Children to Read by Modeling It
To spark reading for pleasure in the home and in school, children must see those around them reading too. At school, teachers can share what they are reading and why. Teachers can encourage students to share what books they are reading and their favorite genres. At home, parents can be role models for reading at any time of the day. Parents can start their day off by reading a few pages of a book, magazine, or newspaper. Parents can also read during their downtime instead of opting for T.V. or social media. By showing your children that reading is not a chore, they will be encouraged to pick up a book too.
5. Allow Children to Choose Their Books
A huge factor that plays into pleasure reading and its decline is the lack of reading options. So often, we are told what to read, how many pages to get through, and a due date to finish the book. This process can become tiresome and boring for many children. To encourage pleasure reading, allow children to choose their own reading material. It is important to provide diverse books and a variety of reading materials (newspapers, magazines, comics, poetry books, etc.). Not only will this be a wonderful way to switch things up, but it will also provide children with a sense of responsibility, pride, and accomplishment. There is no better feeling than having the power to choose what you consume.
6. Join a Book Club
Joining or creating a book club can be a fantastic way to encourage pleasure reading as book clubs promote critical thinking, engagement, and explore many different types of stories. Book clubs take into account what children actually want to read. This provides children the ability to share their ideas, develop conversational skills, and talk about what they truly love. A book club can be a great push for children that struggle to finish an entire book!
7. Go to a Book Fair
A trip to a local book fair is a terrific way to encourage reading for pleasure! Book fairs are perfect to engage and motivate young readers as it encourages independence. You may see your child collecting books, pointing to books on high shelves, and selecting books based on their favorite genres! The more interest your child indicates the better! A book fair is perfect for children that are looking for books outside of their limited classroom library. Tip-Top Brain also offers annual book fairs and read alouds! Be sure to check out the upcoming book fair and free read-aloud on December 18th! We cannot wait to share our love of reading with you!
All in all, reading for pleasure is not something that typically occurs on its own nowadays due to the rise of social media, television, and electronics. These six tips and tricks will encourage the struggling and hesitant reader to fall in love with reading. Keep an eye out for the next Tip-Top Brain Reading Challenge by following us on Facebook and Instagram as our reading journey never ends. What will you read next?