Updated: Feb 4, 2021
Hello parents! I want to suggest five ways to create reading routines that will encourage children to read for pleasure. Some parents may think, My kids read in school all day. Although most academic courses require a certain amount of reading, during the class sessions some of that time is spent with the teacher explaining and teaching, students interacting and doing group work or even practicing certain skills. Children still could benefit from uninterrupted reading time.
Some families have this down. You and your children love to read. They don’t just read books, they read everything. They can read well. This is wonderful! In the comments section below please share with me suggestions you have for a parent who is just starting out. I will share these ideas by updating this post.
Then for other families it’s been very difficult to create a reading routine in your home. Maybe your work schedule is busy and you’re barely getting homework done, or your child doesn’t really like to read or they don’t like to sit still long enough to read. Some children struggle to read. In any of these cases it's important to make reading fun.
Here are my Fun Five:
1. The Place
Create a special place where you’ll read or they read to you. Give the place a funny name. It could be a chair or a room in the house or it could be somewhere outside. This is especially helpful for young children because for them routines in school are often linked to a place.
2. The Snacks
Involve a snack or favorite drink to make reading time more enjoyable.
3. The Genre or Topic
Find books they like because of the genre, illustrations, or topic. Graphic novels are a great way to pique the interest of reluctant readers. Maybe they like stories that will make them laugh or that can be linked to the real world or to an activity they like to do such as cooking or video games.
4. The Team
Involve people they love. This is a great idea for busy single parents. You could alternate reading time with the child's favorite aunt or cousin who can sacrifice some time to read with them. This could be in person or virtual.
5. The Celebration
Start with a simple, small commitment. Choose reading days for example a Monday, Wednesday, and Friday schedule for 10 minutes or less. Set a timer, and when it’s done, celebrate their commitment. They will look forward to the celebration something they enjoy.
I’ll admit that after college I struggled to create a reading routine. When I started working, several times reading for pleasure wasn't high on my list of things to do. I started reading on bus rides to track meets, at hair appointments, while getting a pedicure, or during a lunch break. The more children see us read for pleasure they will also want to read in their free time, even if it's on the go.
Maybe you don’t have children of your own but you can establish reading routines with a niece or nephew or grandchild or godchild.
Children will look forward to spending time with you and having your attention and even the most reluctant readers may go with the flow if you’re consistent and have fun routines.
Finally, I’ve been a teacher, but I’m not a parent. If you are a parent, please share with me a challenge or successful strategy you’ve had with getting your child to read for fun.