Today I’m speaking to two sets of people: ones who want to read more books, and parents who are wondering: how can I get my kids to read more? I have three school age kids. From month to month, they love reading, hate reading or are indifferent to reading. Regardless, I try to model persistent reading to them, and encourage them to learn to love books for themselves. Here are my top tips.
1. Let your kids catch you reading. Read in different places, chairs and rooms. Sit on the stairs and read, read while you’re snacking or in bed. Make it the culture of your house to have piles of books around, and dip into them! Children tend to do what they see modelled to them.
2. Read with them. Not just when they’re toddlers or early years. Carry on reading with them as they approach their teenage years. Do it today. Read a chunk, then let them read a chunk. Set a regular time to read – morning, after school, early evening or late evening - whatever works for you.
3. Pick a book and read it as a family. We’ve done the Lord of the Rings, The Magic Faraway Tree, and Narnia, among others. Reading something almost every day is a challenge: sometimes we don’t feel in the mood. But we keep going and it's so worth it!
4. Encourage your kids to read to you. I have seen my children’s reading levels and comprehension rise over time as we’ve asked them to read out loud to us. We do the voices, sometimes use accents, and try to put expression into our readings. It’s great fun!
5. Read widely. Both on your own and with your kids, because variety is the spice of life, right?
6. Have switch-off days. Maybe pick the odd Saturday or Sunday. Turn off the TV, computers and phones and read as a family. Why not?
7. Create reading spaces. Bean bags, cushions, light music, candles. Comfy, quiet, relaxing...
Love life, love reading! JRx
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Joshua Raven, novelist. Read about my writing and my life here. And have you discovered 5fingers yet?