While most of us take reading for granted as adults, we tend to forget how important it is to instill a love for reading in children from a young age. The way reading can influence the development of a child is impressive, to say the least, and the differences between reading and non-reading kids go a lot further than we could imagine.
Getting children to read nowadays is a greater challenge than ever before, despite the countless studies that showed over the past decades that reading is an essential activity for a young mind’s development. The battle between reading and spending time using a smartphone, tablet, or watching TV seems to leave parents all over the world struggling to learn how to make reading fun for kids.
Why should reading be fun?
Before starting to explore some interesting ways to make reading fun, let’s have a quick look at why we should even bother.
Well, Confucius once said, “do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” That pretty much sums it up, to a certain extent.
We all know that reading has countless benefits, that it can help us communicate better, become wiser, more empathetic people, and that it can make us physically and mentally healthier. So, instilling healthy reading habits comes with a series of advantages that can last us a lifetime, which, since we are on the subject, can even be prolonged by reading. Now, the interesting thing is that by finding ways to make reading a fun activity, we are very likely to do it more often, for longer, and better.
Reading is an activity many of us still associate with the school years when mandatory reading lists made us all cringe at the sight of the titles on them. Changing this mindset can help tremendously. Realizing that reading as an adult is not a chore, but a reason for joy, a moment of relaxation, and an activity that gives us a lot to benefit from is going to help us do it more often. Turning things around and making reading a fun activity can benefit you immensely.
Here’s how making reading fun can benefit you:
- You will read more often
- You will enjoy doing it
- You will relax more
- You will be happier
- You will be less stressed, anxious, or depressed
- You will be healthier
- You will be a better example to your children
Here at Basmo, we believe that everyone should read as often as their schedule allows them to. Getting our children to love reading starts with the power of example first, followed by a way of making reading a fun activity for them.
We all know that the power of games is impressive to say the least. Feline cubs learn the basics of hunting in the form of games. By playing, they develop physical activities that will help them survive later in life. Our children do the same to a certain extent. They improve motricity by dancing, they learn the alphabet through songs, they improve their understanding of 3D principles by playing with Lego blocks, and they learn to follow rules through board games. Why should reading habits be any different?
Including gamification in the process of instilling a love for reading and developing healthy reading habits is a very effective tool, and the benefits of managing to turn reading into a fun activity for your children are going to be countless.
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How to make reading fun for kids
The challenge of learning how to make reading interesting or how to make reading more enjoyable mainly comes from within. Many of us struggle to find the time and energy for reading ourselves, so what are the children learning from us?
On top of the ways of making reading fun I will list below, it is very important to remember that the first and most important thing we need to do is teach by example. If we manage to make reading fun for ourselves, our children will notice and will follow our lead.
But on top of this, there are many other ways we can turn this activity dreaded by many into an exciting reading experience.
Make it a tradition or a habit
Kids love traditions. They love having a structure in their lives and they find it a lot more appealing to do pretty much anything if they learn that there is a clearly defined timeframe for that particular activity.
Depending on your child’s age, start a habit of always reading to him 30 minutes before bedtime, or teach him to always read by himself for 30 minutes before going to sleep if he’s old enough to read alone.
Find a place the child loves
The old real estate saying “location, location, location” has a much deeper meaning than it was initially intended to have. That’s because its meaning goes way beyond the real estate market. The location is extremely important in pretty much any activity.
When it comes to reading, things are no different. Part of making reading fun is finding a place in your home where your child likes to spend time. Make sure it’s not a too distracting environment, and make it a habit to read in that place. You can even designate it as your child’s reading corner and decorate it according to their taste.
Implement a rewards system
Since I already mentioned the importance of gamification in instilling long-lasting healthy reading habits in your child, using a rewards system is one of the best ways to make reading fun for them.
While some of us respond better to positive feedback and others respond well to negative feedback, the general consensus around the rewards is that every single one of us will see an improvement in performance when rewards are involved.
Figure out ways to reward your child for the reading they are doing, but make sure your rewards are going to be interesting enough, while also cheap or accessible enough so you can afford them in the long run.
Find the right books
Finding the right book for your child is essential in making reading fun. Do some research, and find books that are appropriate for their age, or even below their age.
You can find countless themes and topics for children’s books nowadays, so there’s no reason not to try as many of them and see what your child eventually falls in love with. There are also many online communities where you can simply ask for advice.
If your child is old enough to read alone, it might be a good idea to make it a habit to read together. Set some time aside every day for your joint reading session, where you will read your own book, and the child their own.
It will be fun for the child to share this experience with you, and by having control over the frequency and length of the reading sessions, you will be able to ensure that the reading habits he will develop are going to be healthy and useful.
Visit places the child reads about
Reading stimulates your child’s imagination, that is a well-known fact. What you should also consider is that sometimes it is a very nice and fun activity to go out and actually see the things your child is reading about if the books are based on real facts or the action happens in real places that are accessible to you.
This makes reading a lot more fun and meaningful for your child, as it brings a whole new depth to the things they are reading about.
Follow their interests
When it comes to making reading fun for children, there should literally be no boundaries. Explore your child’s interests and make sure to always have books on that specific topic, regardless of how ridiculous it may seem.
As they grow, children develop different passions and interests, and they always end up surprising us. Is your child suddenly passionate or interested in the North Pole? Find books about the North Pole or books in which the action takes place there. A sudden interest in watch repairs? There are plenty of books about that as well.
Not only will your child appreciate the fact that you pay attention to his needs, but he will also learn a lot about the things that he is passionate about, and he will also subconsciously learn that books are fun and a great source of information on any topic.
Making reading fun for struggling readers can sometimes be done by temporarily eliminating the actual reading from the equation. Instead of pushing a resisting child to read, taking a step back and finding alternatives could be more beneficial.
Audiobooks are a great alternative, as they provide children with an experience that has similar benefits to actually reading. They get exposed to some great stories, they will learn new words, and chances are that they will slowly realize that reading can be fun.
Sometimes, when children refuse to read, the issue comes from the fact that they are used to a lot more stimulation from an entertaining activity in general. Watching cartoons, seeing Youtube videos, or playing video games are all activities that stimulate the brain in a different way than reading and provide a sense of gratification that is much easier to achieve.
A white page with a bunch of letters on it may not seem too attractive to a child who is used to having his brain flooded by blue light, vivid images, and entertaining sounds. Try providing the child with magazines or comic books, as the images will intrigue him and there’s a chance that he will slowly start to appreciate the content as much as the imagery.
Teach them to be an example
If an opportunity arises to allow your child to read to a younger child, you should take it. Children love to be seen as an example, and their little hearts get filled with joy whenever they need to act like they are older, wiser, and more experienced than their younger peers.
Gift them books
The habit of offering books as gifts to children has several benefits. Not only do you make sure that your child has enough reading material, you also teach them that books are a reason for joy. Any occasion when a gift is in order is usually a happy day.
Whether it’s their birthday, Christmas, or another holiday, make sure to always include a book in the gift. Children will associate books with the toys and other gifts they will receive and will always associate them with the happy occasion. This will, in the end, help them develop a healthy relationship with books and reading in general.
Book summaries can be fun
As an alternative to classic audiobooks, you should know that your children can also benefit from audio summaries.
For children who are very active and have little patience, audio summaries can be a great idea. They can be consumed in just a couple of minutes, and provide an experience that is close enough to actually reading that it can, in time, instill a love for reading in children.
How to make reading fun for adults
While children are the ones who have a hard time finding the joy in reading more often than adults, we are not exactly immune to the issue either. There are many adults who struggle to find reading fun and not a boring endeavor.
Here are a couple of suggestions for making reading more fun as an adult:
- Read what you like
- Change your mindset – reading is not a chore
- Find a nice and quiet place to read where distractions are minimal
- Reward yourself for your achievements
- Make reading a daily habit
- Pair reading with another activity you like (drink a glass of wine, listen to some music)
- Use a reading tracking app
This last point is actually a very important one. Reading tracking apps like Basmo can seriously enhance the reading experience both in terms of efficiency and pleasure.
Basmo comes packed to the brim with features that will make reading easier and whole lot more fun:
- The app will allow you to set a reading schedule so you can always ensure that your reading sessions occur at the best time according to your daily routine
- Basmo can be used for creating reading lists so you never forget what books you want to read and what books you already read
- Basmo allows you to track your emotions
- Basmo provides you with unique statistics about your reading habits, which will be quite fun to explore and improve
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So, how to make reading fun for kids? There are plenty of ways to do this, all you need is the right mindset, a bit of imagination, and enough patience for a prolonged trial and error process.