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By Matt Duczeminski

4 simple ways to get your child reading more

If you’re reading this, you obviously know the importance of literacy in today’s world. It’s almost impossible to get anywhere in life without being able to read and understand words on a page.

But many children would rather do just about anything else than pick up a book and read it. Though they really only need to spend 15 to 20 minutes a day with a book to become successful readers, many children are hesitant to even pick one up.

As a parent, it can be tough to instill in our children the importance of becoming a literate adult without resorting to punishment.

But do we really need to take the X-Box away to get our kids reading? There has to be a better way, right?

In fact, there are plenty. It may take a little extra effort on your end, but when you start to see improvement in your child’s reading ability, it’ll all be worth it. Use these tips to get your child reading.

Provide choice

Think back to when you were in school. You probably can recall reading a bunch of books and plays that you absolutely hated, right? Your children most likely feel the same way.

Perhaps they’ve never been exposed to books, magazines or websites that they’re interested in. But that doesn’t mean they’re not available.

Use an interest survey to see what your children would enjoy reading, then inundate them with books relating to these topics.

Take them to the library or bookstore and let them decide what to pick out. Sometimes, simply giving children the power of choice is enough to get them interested.

Track progress

Some struggling readers stop reading altogether because they think they “just aren’t good at it.”

Milestones are few and far between when it comes to reading. Children celebrate the first time they read a full word, a full sentence, a full book and a full chapter book. But after that, it can be tough for them to see the progress they’ve made.

Luckily, there are numerous apps available to track children’s reading progress. They can keep a virtual bookshelf of all the books they’ve ever read and all the books they want to read. They can also track their reading skills, such as fluency and comprehension. They can even write their own books using their iPads.

When children begin to see that they are getting better at reading, they’ll be more likely to pick up a book and dive in.

Liven it up

When most children think of reading, they imagine sitting still for 20 minutes with a book in their hands. But it doesn’t have to be that way. There are tons of ways parents can make the act of reading come alive.

Create scavenger hunts. Solve word puzzles together. Put on dramatic plays.

Show your children the fun side of being able to read. They’ll enjoy themselves so much, they won’t even realize how much they’re learning.

Make reading part of everyday life

One of the most influential factors regarding a child’s reading ability and disposition is the way in which his or her parents view reading. Simply put, if you want your child to read more, you need to read more.

Children who grow up seeing their parents reading books, magazines and newspapers will begin to see reading as a natural function.

On the other hand, if you’re constantly telling your child to read more, but you, yourself, never read, what message are you sending?

Not only should parents be avid readers, but they should also regularly discuss their reading with other family members. This will reinforce the notion that reading isn’t simply looking at words on a page, but actually understanding the message being put forth by the writer.

When children have a true understanding of the importance of reading, they’ll be much more likely to become life-long readers, and life-long learners.

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