I have often heard the question from parents, teachers, or book enthusiasts “How do you get ‘reluctant readers’ to read?” I believe this has a 2-part answer, the first part being that before they ever even have a chance to become reluctant readers, you turn them into “passionate readers”. How do you do this? It starts at home and it starts early.
Parents play a major role in creating enthusiastic or passionate readers. When parents simply take the time to consistently read to children a few minutes every day when they are very young (reading books that the children enjoy), their children will develop an interest in reading and become readers for life. This has been a tradition in our home at bedtime, and each of our five children have become avid readers, often to the point where punishment for wrong doing has sometimes been to take their books away. In many of these cases, the wrongdoing was actually reading when they were supposed to be cleaning their room, doing their jobs, getting ready for bed or going to bed.
One of the biggest obstacles to reading to children is the time commitment, but the benefits make it well worth making that commitment. Not only does it develop a love for reading in your children, but it becomes a time for parent and child to have fun together, grow closer to each other, and create great memories.
How has reading to your children worked for you? What strategies have you used to make time for reading in the midst of hectic schedules?
Next post, I’ll talk about the second part of the answer, which is what do you do if your child is already a reluctant reader.