How To Encourage Reading In Children And Adolescents: 11 Strategies

Encouraging reading in children and young people with effective strategies is extremely important so that they acquire the habit of reading and do not waste time in unproductive activities. This will help them to train and become more educated and cultured people.

One of the things that seems to worry parents and teachers today is that children and adolescents read less and less. Children’s free time is frequently occupied by extracurricular activities and above all, by the use of television and news technologies. The computer, video games, television, the tablet … are tools that have now stolen the limelight from books .

habit of reading

In addition, it is also alarming the little curiosity and interest that children and young people show, in general, for reading. Sometimes they find it boring and they end up doing it out of obligation and not as the enjoyment of reading.

Why is it essential to promote reading and the reading habit?

It is important to develop a taste for reading and a reading habit given the benefits that reading has for the individual. An essential aspect of reading is that it is a fundamental way to access culture.

Reading, in an instrumental way, allows students to learn at school. Mastering reading is an essential requirement to be able to ahead the rest of the school subjects.

For this reason, many studies have found a correlation between reading literacy and academic performance. Other studies have related the academic performance of students and their love of reading, which has been measured through reading habits.

In addition to all this, there are many other benefits that children can find in reading. Reading is fun, broadens knowledge, allowslive new stories, develop your imagination and bring you closer to realities that you could not know otherwise.

Reading is a source of pleasure, a source of imagination and fantasy and of knowledge, knowledge and information. Really, getting individual readers should be a main objective of the education of children and young people, since this will be one of the fundamental learning for the rest of your life.

For this, collaboration and continuous encouragement of everyone’s reading are important: parents, teachers and professors, the context, libraries, media…

11 Strategies to Encourage Reading

Read, act by example!

young girl reading

The golden rule of thumb for getting kids to enjoy reading is to watch their main role models read. Parents’ reading habits influence in those of their children.

Parents’ attitudes and habits influence the acquisition of their children’s attitudes and habits. Hence, it is important for parents to read
and enjoy reading so that the children internalize it in such a way.

The love of reading is something that children learn at home when their parents spend time reading and enjoy books. The main factor to take into account in the formation of the reading habit and is the behavior and attitude of readiness of the family.

This does not mean, however, that the school has no role in all this. School (formal education) has always been associated with reading. And also the experiences and models that children observe here will affect their configuration towards books.

Different investigations have shown that when reading is encouraged to children by their parents or when children see that their parents read, they have greater reading habits.

Parents’ reading habits and attitudes towards books have also resulted in children acquiring a taste for reading and develop reading behaviors.

Offer reading as a fun leisure alternative

boy reading with glasses

To help your child see reading as fun, offer activities where he can prove it.

The attitudes that you show towards reading necessarily translate into offering reading as a fun leisure alternative, where reading and books are the central aspect.

Different studies have shown that the reading habit is more developed among those who have reading as an essential element in their Leisure time.

There are various activities where stories play a key role: for example, go together to public libraries, have a reading card, attend the storytellers that are often done for free, see if there are reading groups, literary contests, book fair …

Going to plays or musicals is another way to encourage reading. And some movies based on books too. Positive attitudes towards reading by the family predicts the reading ability of children and adolescents.

For example, the PISA report that places Finland as the leading country in reading comprehension showed that it was explained mainly because they showed very interested in reading and were committed to it.

It is important that reading is present within the activities that occupy family leisure time so that the child integrates it as a leisure alternative.

Share reading time with your child

children and grandmother reading

In addition to reading parents and children separately, it is important to plan times for family members to read together. The child will develop his reading habit and choose the books he likes the most to start reading.

But it is important that you dedicate some time exclusively to read and discuss the reading together. This time together, which is also leisure time, allows us to understand and reflect on stories and knowledge that the child could not access else.

Discussing the readings or keeping in mind the readings that have been done can be a good topic of conversation with your child.

You have to find some time to read every day!

girl reading tree

One of the reasons why it is said not to read is “due to lack of time.” It is important to find a place each day to read even a few pages. We are talking about forming a habit, and for this it is essential to have a routine and be constant in reading.

The habit of reading in children leads them to master the technique and this will affect many other areas of their lives: they will be able to read for pleasure, will facilitate your progress in formal education …

Reserve a space at home for reading

reading at home

A good option is to have a place at home for the family library and to keep the books.

You can be encouraged to have your own library and it is important that you keep the books within reach. That I can take the books when I want and can sit to read voluntarily.

A quiet and comfortable zone can be dedicated so that you can get closer to read.

Give books, give experiences

Books are also a good gift. Many times we give away clothes, toys … giving books can be a great option.

You can take advantage of special occasions such as birthdays or Christmas, but you can also take advantage of other situations to give books as gifts.

When you go on a trip somewhere, you can go to select a guide of the place. If the child is interested in some subjects (space, body human …) going to a bookstore (or library) to choose a book on this subject is also an ideal option.

Adapt the book to the characteristics of your child

child reading tree

If we want the child to read, the books have to be adapted to him, “made to measure.” When a person reads, they find books they like, books they don’t like, books that make them think, books they want to read again … All this is part of reading, but it is important not to force the child. Respect their tastes.

The books have to be adapted to his age, that they are not very easy for him (that is, of lower ages, because the subject will not be appropriate) or not very difficult either (we run the risk that he does not understand it and prefers to leave it).

We can choose the books that can be more complicated to read together and thus be able to comment on them. Reading has to be part of the person’s lifestyle and has to be based on their preferences and the needs they present.

Adapting to its characteristics implies being attentive to the interests it shows in order to reach them through books.

It is a frequent practice in the classroom to homogenize reading in children. That way it will be difficult to get to interest all children. Each of them is different.

Respecting the child in reading is the first step in gaining an interest and love for books.

Books have to be fun

children laughing with book

Some surveys carried out with children show that children read more than adults. However, when we go to the interest in reading, the figures are alarming. Children read, but out of obligation.

It is important to bear in mind that reading has to be a pleasure and that we have to make an effort and make every effort to offer children and young people a environment that encourages interest in reading.

There is no use forcing children to read. If they read out of obligation, when they have the opportunity they will stop reading and the effect that we will have had on them It is the opposite of the desired one.

Reading doesn’t have to be a punishment. Reading has to be fun. For this, it is necessary that it be attractive to them and not be a mere curricular instrument which is mandatory to do at school.

We cannot forget that if we want children to be regular readers, it is necessary that they learn to value reading and that they want to read in a voluntary.

In the variety is the spice. Diversity of readings!

girl with book in park

In reading we find infinite variety. Although children should not be forced to read everything, it is important to encourage them to know the variety since they have it at their fingertips.

Children should have at their fingertips stories, picture books, comics, comics, novels with different genres. Diversity will make you curious and help you discern your own interests. All this will allow you to cheer up and discover other worlds.

As parents and teachers our task will be to accompany them and teach them to discriminate between all the offer that exists. They must define their taste and for that they need time and variety of reading.

Do activities to encourage reading. Be creative!

girl girl with disney book

To promote the habit of reading and develop interest in reading, it is not necessary to read. Different learning in children should be encouraged and encouraged. Reading and writing must be rethought in teaching.

Reading can be lived and experienced not only in an instrumental way but also in a creative and recreational way. There are many reading games that can be done: create poetry, do writing workshops, play with rhymes, riddles, dramatizations, book-forum …

You can reinvent stories, change the ending to stories, make stories upside down … All of this implies offering creative writing that allows learning and be interested in reading from another point of view.

It is about generating pleasure, so it should be read but also think about attractive activities that allow the child or adolescent to penetrate the world of the reading.

For example, you can also access the reading through the cooking recipes (making cookies or a cake), and help you look up the recipe already read it as a natural process of the established dynamics.

Create communication situations

children talking with book

An alternative to awaken the taste for reading is to create situations where you invite your children to express themselves about reading. You can comment on what you have read, what you liked, what you admire about a book … You can ask them about their tastes, the book they have read.

When you read with them, be attentive to their reactions. This will then allow you to discuss certain parts of the reading with them.

Explain the words they don’t understand, it’s a very useful way to expand vocabulary. When the reading is over, you can ask about the characters, what ending could have been the alternative, what do you think might happen next …

How should the reading animation be?

The family is the place where children develop socially and psychologically. It is the child’s first agent of socialization.

The norms, values, attitudes towards the world that affect their development and the way they see the world are fundamentally acquired at home, through their parents.

Surveys indicate that children read, but not out of interest, rather out of obligation. New technologies and other leisure offerings are eating ground to reading. We must strive to make reading an interesting and fun leisure alternative for them.

Encouraging reading must be part of a global and continuous program, where all the agents that affect the development of the child act in the same direction. Animation must be voluntary. The child has to want to participate in the reading so as not to generate the opposite effect to that desired.

Also, it must be active. Reading is active and dynamic, the child listens, reads, plays based on everything he discovers through reading. Has to participate, be a participant in the process.

Develop programs to encourage reading where the age of the participants is taken into account, know their reading habits, collaborate with families, libraries, librarians, cultural associations … It is a very good option to develop the reading habit.

Reading is a complex process where not only cognitive and linguistic factors intervene, but also contextual or environmental factors, which are fundamentally the that facilitate the acquisition of reading.

The family is the one who exerts the clearest and most direct influence on children’s reading motivation and the pleasure for books is awakened through motivation and interest.

Reflections on reading

The issue of lack of reading in the population is common in all age groups, affects children, adolescents and adults.

In the global world in which we develop, reading is also influenced by the number of different activities that compete with it in the leisure and free time alternatives.

School and family are the main agents of the child’s socialization and the main environments where their education takes place. And for all this, the relationships established between these two educational agents and the fact that they both look in the same direction are important.

The importance of reading and the interest it can arouse for children is a relevant and essential task not only from school, but also from the family.

The promotion of reading must be approached from a social, cultural, educational and political perspective. Reading should be a priority in the training of individuals.

References

  1. Gil Flores, J. (2009). Habits and attitudes of families towards reading and basic skills of students. Education Magazine , 350, 301-322.
  2. Jiménez Martínez, L. (2012). Encouraging reading in libraries… Building a path towards reading. Bulletin of the Andalusian Society of Librarians , 103, 59-78.
  3. Molina, L. (2006). Reading and education: reading habits and their academic impact on Compulsory Secondary Education. Ocnos, 2, 105-122.
  4. Moreno, E. (2001). Analysis of the influence of the family on the reading habits of their daughters and sons: an ethnographic study. Educational Contexts, 4, 177-196.
  5. Salazar, S. and Ponce, D. (1999). Reading habits. Institute of the book and reading.
  6. Yubero, S., Larrañaga, E. (2010). The value of reading in relation to reading behavior. A study on reading habits and lifestyle in children. Ocnos , 6, 7-20.

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