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How can I encourage my children to enjoy reading?

by Carolyn Hopping (follow)
Parenting (216)      Education (92)     
Over recent years there has been much discussion about declining levels in literacy amongst Australian children. As parents we have a huge influence upon our children's attitudes towards learning, and reading together as a family can be a terrific way to give your child a head-start in the literacy stakes. Studies have shown that if children have positive learning experiences from an early age, this attitude will generally persevere throughout the course of their lives, benefitting them on many levels. These days there are so many wonderful children's books on the market, ranging from colourful picture books to thought-provoking non-fiction titles and brilliantly conceived novels for older children and teenagers. What is the best age to begin reading to my child? How can I encourage reluctant readers? How can I choose books which are fun yet educational? What are your favourite picture books for pre-schoolers? What are the best new titles for young readers? How can parents show by example that reading is enjoyable?

State Library of Western Australia

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You can start reading to your child from birth. They won't understand at first but they like hearing the sound of your voice and it gives you something to do when you're at home with a baby.

My toddlers both took to books from an early age. Board books with different textures for them to feel helped to get them used to the idea that books are fun. The "That's Not My..." series has been popular in our house ("That's Not My Puppy", "That's Not My Dragon" etc.) We gradually moved on to books with rhyming words and more of a story. My four year old now likes us to read her chapter books and is itching to start reading herself. She particularly enjoys the Pearlie the Park Fairy series by Wendy Harmer.

I think it also helps that they see both their parents reading whenever we get the chance. I don't do quite as much reading as I used to in my pre-children days but I think it's pretty obvious to them that I enjoy it.
I take the children with me to the library and encourage them to choose the books they would like to read by looking at pictures. I also encourage them to participate in story time, and the activities that follow, which enhance the understanding of the book. Reading to children at night before they go to bed is an excellent way to encourage them to read or at least get used to books. If they are reading themselves, it is a good idea to enroll them in a reading club. Make an activity related to the book.
Have worked on projects to improve children's literacy through my freelance work, and making a difference to the reading ability of one child is priceless. Encouragement is everything. "You're doing so well, keep it up." It is not flattery when you say it like you really mean it.
Take children to free story times at your local library they even have baby rhyme times.
I agree with all the above answers. Local libraries are priceless resources for children's literacy...not only for all the fabulous books they house but also for the kids' literacy events that most hold such as baby rhyme times, etc. I think it's a great idea to get children their own library membership too. Then, trips to the local library can be an extra treat as you discuss the books on the shelves together and choose which ones you'd like to take home.

Children's picture books these days are truly amazing and the genre has become quite an art form. If any readers are from Western Australia a really awesome spot to visit that not so many people know about is Fremantle Literature Centre. Every school term it holds special open days and sells amazing children's picture books.
For me, to encourage my son to read I actually had to read to and with him some time "during the day and for him in the night"
Read to your children with a smile. It works every time.
They won't feel like they're doing chores or being punished.
Read, read and read again. Read Stories to them with gay abandon, exaggerated excitement and dramatic gestures . . . always stop at an interesting juncture so that they have it on their mind and can't wait to hear more. Ask questions about the text to pique their interest even more. Very soon they will be looking into those books using their own imagination.
by Rice
Read in front of them and read to them. Read books ,not only screens. Read street signs and labels...anything with words. Make positive comments about reading. I read to my son from birth, but it is never too late. Find books the child is interested in. My nephew loved the refedex( street maps) . Make a fun outing by going to the library and choosing books.
I am out of touch with titles for little ones now. My son loved Goodnight Moon! I must have read it to him 200 times! Ask the librarian for advice. If you borrow a book your child really loves, hunt it down on line or at the shops so they have their own copy.
Encourage reluctant readers by patiently listening to them read. Some children respond well by reading to a pet, where there is no judgement.
My son is a voracious reader in his 30's.
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