Reading for pleasure: Some tips
Encouraging children to read for pleasure is something teachers and parents often struggle with. It’s not just about getting them to pick up a book. It’s getting them to engage, and to be motivated to seek out books on their own. We want them to go beyond just pushing through their lessons, and to read at home for the joy of it.
The first influence in learning to love reading is, of course, the home environment. When a child grows up in a home where reading is valued, and she can see adults reading for pleasure and information, the likelihood that she herself will develop a love of reading is greatly increased. Being read to is also critically important to developing a love for reading. It’s important for children to appreciate a good story. This is supported by being read to, choosing the stories that one is naturally drawn to, and even reading stories they have written themselves.
In reading for pleasure, kids should have a choice about what they read. Introduce them to a wide variety of styles, genres, and mediums, and allow them to discover the delight of reading an array of reading materials. Comic books, graphic novels, ebooks, short stories, and magazine articles are all acceptable choices of reading material. In addition, a relaxed atmosphere and a positive attitude about reading goes a long way toward supporting reading for pleasure.
Don’t worry too much about the reading level of the books they are choosing. Sometimes it’s easier to read for pleasure when you don’t have to work so hard to understand what you are reading. Sometimes kids will pick up books that are above their reading level if they are highly interested in the topic. It can also be an option for an adult to read some of the book to the child, to keep their interest in the story alive. Find out more about choosing books at your child’s Reading Level.
Research shows that motivation to read often diminishes with age, particularly if children’s attitudes toward reading become less positive. If children do not enjoy reading when they are young, it is less likely that they will enjoy it as they get older. So we have to start young, developing those positive associations when they are little, and facilitating reading success and pleasure.