How to Encourage Your Child to Read
Read to Them (But at the Right Time)
We admit: getting your child to read in this day and age of TikTok, Instagram and the like is not easy. The thought of flipping through a thick volume is daunting for children who are used to consuming information visually in 10 seconds or less.
But getting your child interested in books would be the first step to turning him into an avid reader. We suggest setting aside 10 minutes or so a day, at a time when they are undistracted and relaxed (bedtime is usually perfect for this) and start off with short stories that can be easily read to them. Children are usually receptive to this because most would do just about anything to delay going to bed.
The internet is filled with short stories that are accessible and most of them are categorised according to age group or subject matter. This will help you with matching the right story to your child’s personality, interest and age, and therefore go a long way in keeping him or her interested.
Read, Read, and Repeat
Children embrace the familiar, and it’s true in this case too. If your child insists on reading Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets over and over again, remember that that’s fine.
Reading the same thing over and over again builds speed and accuracy; which in turn translates to confidence. This will help when it comes to picking new books to read. As it becomes easier and easier for your child to skim through the opening paragraphs of a new book, they’ll also find it easier to lose themselves in a whole new story, open them up into the world of reading, and send them in search of more.
Rely on Technology
Make technology your best friend. For some kids, it’s not so much the act of reading itself, but the form that it is being presented in. Present your child with a book and they equate it with boredom and a chore. Present it in the form of a shiny new Kobo or Kindle and the game automatically changes.
So think about downloading books on an iPad, or use the several reading apps that the National Library of Singapore has available to encourage your child to read. Try Overdrive, NLB Mobile or Libby; not only can your child read on these apps, he or she is also able to browse the library’s entire catalogue (it’s massive) of available e-books to borrow!
You’ve heard about e-books, but have you heard about audiobooks? Audiobooks are a God-send for busy parents (and individuals) who would love to read but are hard-pressed to find the time to do so. They’re convenient, accessible and best of all – you can get them for free!
“Present your child with a book and it becomes a chore. Present it in the form of a shiny new Kindle and the game changes.”
The National Library also has an extensive collection of audiobooks ready for you to borrow. We encourage you to skim through the library’s catalogue together with your child. Children are more likely to be invested if they’re given the independence to choose the book they get to listen to.
Remember the old adage “Never judge a book by its cover”? Not so much, in this case. Book covers are practically designed to capture your child’s attention – you’ll soon find your child checking out several titles at once!