Ways to Make Reading Enjoyable for Your Child

Enrichment Therapies

April 30, 2024

brother and sister reading together

By: Brooke Haessig M.A., CF-SLP

A common mistake that some parents and teachers make is pushing reading on a child. We all know that the best way for a child to improve their reading skills is to read! However, for some children, this is easier said than done. Some children haven’t found the joy in reading yet and therefore don’t want to spend time reading. Maybe they are struggling with reading, have dyslexia, or would simply rather participate in other activities rather than reading. 

When this is the case, children often read less than they should be reading to strengthen their reading skills. This is often where we see children fall behind their peers. The best advice when it comes to encouraging your child to read is to PULL rather than PUSH. When you pull your child in you are sparking their interest and making reading more appealing to them. When you push reading on a child it will likely make reading feel like a chore and it will be even less appealing. Below are a few ways that you can pull your child into reading, and ways to avoid pushing reading on your child.

3 Things You Can Do to PULL Your Child Into Reading

1. Let them choose 

Provide a variety of options, either within your household or by taking trips to the library. You know your child better than anyone, so be sure to consider their interests and guide them towards books that you feel would be enjoyable for them. They might have fun with a comic strip, graphic novel, or magazine. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box.

2. Get Siblings Involved 

It can be fun and exciting for a child to take charge of reading to their younger sibling(s). They see you read bedtime stories to them and their siblings and would feel like they are on top of the world if they got to be in charge of picking the story and reading to everyone before bed. 

3. Lead by Example 

Children look up to their parents, whether it be wearing mom’s makeup or maybe dad’s boots. It doesn’t have to stop there. If they see adults reading for fun around the house, this could be encouraging for them to want to try that, too.  You could even choose a book to read aloud as a family!

3 Things to Avoid So You Don’t PUSH Reading on Your Child

1. Using Reading As a Threat or Bargaining Chip 

Don’t use reading as a threat (“If you don’t finish your dinner you have to read for 30 minutes”) and don’t use it as a bargaining chip (“If you read for 30 minutes then you can watch TV”). This makes reading seem like a bad thing and not something that they should enjoy.

2. Choosing Books That Are at The Wrong Level 

Providing your child with books that are at an appropriate level for their reading skills is important. Reading a book that is too simple may be boring for a child. However, reading a book that is difficult could be frustrating and discouraging. 

3. Over-Correcting Mistakes 

Reading should be seen as a fun and relaxing activity. This often isn’t the case if a child is constantly being interrupted and told to make corrections. It is important to help a child learn to read accurately and fluently, however, this should be done during natural pauses in reading rather than interrupting them. Use your best judgment of how many corrections your child can handle without feeling discouraged in one sitting.

Find More Reading Tips and Support at ETLC

If you think your child is struggling with reading, reach out to Enrichment Therapy & Learning Center today! As a speech therapy and learning center located near the Des Moines metro area and Iowa City, we specialize in helping children achieve effective communication and gain academic success. Contact us for more information on how we can help your child succeed.

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