Parenting tips- How to foster your child's love of reading

Reading is a crucial skill for primary school students to learn. It improves their imagination, comprehension, vocabulary, concentration, focus, and makes them empathic, among other things.

Most primary school children, however, would rather watch TV or play video games than read a book. So, we've compiled a few helpful tips for parents to build their child's interest in reading.

Parenting tip 1: Make it fun.

Most children who believe they “dislike” reading do so because they think it is boring. If they have never been emotionally invested in a story, they are likely to believe that reading is similar to studying...countless hours of sitting still and going through page after page of innumerable sentences.

As parents, we must find ways to make reading enjoyable for our children. This can be done by considering their interests and finding books in their preferred genre. If you haven't already, create a Goodreads account because, in addition to age-appropriate listicles about books from various genres, they also suggest books that are similar to the ones that your child may have enjoyed in the past.

You can also look into websites like Wonderbly, which allow you to create personalised books for your child. These books will help build their imagination and increase their interest by casting them as the story's hero.

Alternatively, plan a day around visiting the library. Allow your child the complete freedom to choose any book that they desire (from the children’s section, of course). Then, once you are home, you can prepare a comfortable reading area for them, have some of their preferred snacks on hand, and watch as they settle in and start reading.

Parenting tip 2: Model the right behaviour.

Children learn through observation. If your child has not seen you or their older sibling completely engrossed in a book, they are not going to believe that reading is fun. So, while it is difficult to find the time to read—especially as we have to juggle home, work, parenting, and families—try to make reading a part of your daily routine, and your child will follow suit.

Parenting tip 3: Don’t force it.

This may seem counterintuitive, but we've met countless adults who claim that they never developed a genuine interest in reading because their parents were forceful and insistent that they did. They picked up books because they felt compelled to, and stopped as soon as they could.

If, despite your best efforts, your child is simply not interested in reading, let it go. You can still work on developing the skills they would have developed if they were readers by reading to them daily. Try to make your reading interactive. Encourage them to ask questions or to imagine themselves as characters in the story. This will not only strengthen your bond with your child, but it will also help them develop a love of stories.

Parenting tip 4: Don’t reward your child for reading.

Whatever you do, do not reward your child for reading. While your child may read more books in the short term to earn that reward, their love of reading will dwindle in the long run. This is due to a psychological phenomenon known as the "Overjustification effect," which states that when people are given external motivators (such as money or gifts) to do things that they enjoy, their enjoyment of the activity diminishes over time. Several studies have confirmed this. In one study conducted by Lepper, Greene, and Nisbett (1973), one group of children was given a chance to draw with felt-tip markers without external rewards, while the other group was offered rewards. The findings revealed that children who were given rewards became less interested in drawing in the long run than those who did not.

So, play the long game and let your child read because they enjoy it.

If you liked reading this article, we suggest reading 4 bite-size study hacks for Primary students with short attention span next.




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