Top tips to get kids interested in reading
As parents, we all know that being able to read fluently is an important skill for kids' literacy and academic achievement. But what is often overlooked is that reading for enjoyment, as opposed to simply just an educational task, sets children up for better personal development, wider general knowledge, and improved mental health as they enter adolescence.
However, books often straggle in in second place to screens and gaming for entertainment value. As such, making time to establish a love of reading in your child will really be worth your while in the long run.
Make it a habit - but not a chore
First, try to carve out some time in the daily schedule that is just for reading. If you are able to keep it quiet, relaxed and fun so much the better. When mustering enthusiasm for reading is hard work, make it a little more exciting by creating a reading 'den' - hanging a sheet or light blanket from a picture hook and making a cosy nest of pillows can be enough to encourage kids to want to settle down with a book.
Find out what they want to read
What interests your child? Some kids just aren't interested in fiction, and that's perfectly ok, so don't be too downhearted if they initially shun your carefully curated selection of recommended children's literature.
It's easy if your child happens to love outer space or nature, as there is a wealth of good quality fact books in these educational areas. But at the same time, don't worry if your child is only interested in football, or animated superheroes, or unicorns. What's important at this stage is tapping into what books your child can find that they love to read. If that's player fact files and match stats, that's perfectly valid (and often great for maths skills too!). And if it's a glitter-covered princess or superhero annual, as long as it gives them the bug for reading for pleasure, it could be just the start they need.
Take a trip to a book shop
Books are such tangible things, with that distinctive smell and eye-catching bright covers that kids love to own. Organising a trip to your local bookshop and letting them choose and buy something they have picked themselves might encourage kids to feel more excited about opening it and discovering the story inside.
On the other side of this, if you find your child is losing interest quickly in the books they start reading, grab a Kindle and download the excerpts to try before you buy.
"Books shouldn’t be daunting, they should be funny, exciting and wonderful; and learning to be a reader gives a terrific advantage.”
Often kids can get a bit lost in the move from standard kids' picture books to the more 'grown up' chapter books. The pages of text can seem overwhelming for some kids, even though they may have moved on from the topics and story styles of the more basic books.
If this is the case, try asking at your library for illustrated versions of books. The pictures not only break up the intimidating blocks of text, but help give context to what is happening.
In the same vein, don't dismiss comic books or graphic novels. Some may have questionable spelling or a ridiculous premise, and let's face it, these books alone aren't going to send your child soaring into the academic stratosphere. But they might just spark enough interest to set them on the road to trying other books, and onwards to all the benefits that reading for pleasure can bring. Here's a list of graphic novels and illustrated versions that might help bridge that gap.
Use tech resources
For reluctant or struggling readers, why not try allowing them to follow the book they are reading while they listen to the audiobook version? This helps with the tricky words, while offering them freedom from having to ask a parent to read the book to them.
This extra support can be instrumental in getting kids into books, regardless of whether they opt to read along or not, with young people saying that audio books have made them more interested in reading on paper or screen.
At Komodo, we are of the belief that if your child isn't into reading, they probably just haven't found the right book yet. Good luck!
About Komodo - Komodo is a fun and effective way to boost primary maths and literacy skills. Designed for 5 to 11-year-olds to use at home, Komodo uses a 'little and often' approach to learning that fits into busy family life. Komodo helps users develop fluency and confidence in maths and English - without keeping them at the screen for long.