Motivating Kids to Read
With the range of distractions available to children today -- PSPs, video games, Internet, television and movies to name a few -- reading during the lengthy summer holidays is the furthest thing from most kids' minds. It is indeed a challenge to ensure that they both continue reading and understand the importance of reading.
Below are some essential tips, offered by Reading is Fundamental, that parents and guardians can use to keep them motivated:
- Combine activities with books: Summer leaves a lot of time for kids to enjoy fun activities such as going to the beach or park, or seeing a movie. Well why not encourage them to read a book about the activity? On the way you will have plenty of time to discuss the book with your child(ren).
- Visit the Library regularly: If your child does not have a library card, summer vacation is the perfect time to get one. The Cayman Islands Public Library Services has a wide range of books and other materials for children and teens of all ages.
- Lead by example: Make sure you practice what you preach; read the newspaper at breakfast, read magazines while waiting to see the doctor, take a paperback novel to the beach. If kids see the adults around them reading often, then they will understand that reading can be fun and is a vital part of everyday life.
- Talk it up: Talk to kids about what you are reading and let them see your enthusiasm, as well as how important reading is to you. Tell them what you liked about the book or article, what you learnt from it, or how it helped you. Soon they might start doing the same.
- Help kids find time to read: Playing videos games, basketball, music, and attending summer camps are all fun things kids like to do during the summer. However, by the end of the day, children may be too tired to even pick up a book. When planning summer activities remember you need to leave some time in their busy schedules for reading. Before bedtime or over breakfast is great.
- Relax the rules for summer: During the school year, children may have busy schedules and often have required reading for classes. Summer is a time when children can read what, when, and how they please. Do not set daily minute requirements or determine the number of pages they should read. Instead, make sure they pick up books for fun and help find ways for them to choose to read on their own. You may even want to make bedtime a little bit later if you find that your child can't put down a book.
- Have plenty of reading materials around: Storybooks aren't the only thing that kids can read for fun. Be sure to have newspapers, magazines, and informational material on hand that might spark the interest of a young reader.
- Use books to break the boredom: Without the regular school regimen, adults and kids need more activities to fill their hours. Books that teach kids how to make or do something are a great way to get kids reading and keep them occupied. Don't forget to take your child's favourite reading series along on long road trips.
- Read aloud with kids: The summer months leave extra time for enthusiastic read-alouds with children, no matter their age. Don't forget to improvise different voices or wear a silly hat to make the story that much more interesting.