Books are fun! Tips on motivating children to read for pleasure

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Reading is not only enjoyable, but it also has the power to boost a child’s learning potential. Research findings published in Perspectives on Psychological Science concluded that reading to children in an interactive manner can raise their IQ by over six points. Another study published in the journal Science suggests that reading also raises emotional intelligence (EQ) and increases empathy.

However, not every child loves to read. The following are some ways one can teach a child to read for pleasure and reap the cognitive, social, and emotional benefits of doing so.

Start young

Reading aloud helps form an emotional bond between parent and child. It will also help children associate the act of reading with good memories. Such association will help the child develop a positive attitude towards reading as he grows older.

Start small

Children shouldn’t be expected to read full-length novels and automatically enjoy them. Storybooks with pictures, magazines, and graphic novels can help gently introduce a child to the world of reading. Funny stories also help dispel the notion that reading is “too serious” and “not fun.”

Make it a habit

Parents should try and set aside time specifically for reading each day. This can be any time that suits the parent and the child, such as after class, after homework is finished, or right before bedtime.

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Be a role model

Parents should practice what they preach and show their children that they, too, love to read and derive enjoyment from it. Families can also try discussing favorite books at dinner time, going to the library together, and helping each other pick out books.

No pushing

Pressuring a child to read will only make her less likely to pick up a book. Nagging and setting unrealistic goals will only make her resent the parent. Adults should gently encourage reading in other ways, such as providing books and reading materials on subjects that the child finds interesting.

In addition, school libraries are great sources of age-appropriate and entertaining books. Encourage children to ask for recommendations from their school librarian and take home books.

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Studies have found that there is a strong correlation between reading and academic excellence. Parents who want their children to achieve academic success should encourage their children to read, not just for their studies, but for fun.

David Ostrer works as an educational consultant. Subscribe to this blog for more related discussions.


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