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If you have a child who doesn’t like reading, trying to motivate him or her to read can be quite a challenge. Reading is important not only for academic success, but also to ensure a child is well-prepared for lifelong learning.

Below are 13 suggestions you can begin using immediately to help children develop more positive feelings about reading.

  • Schedule time to read with your child at least once per day. 
  • As much as possible, have discussions about the book before, during, and after reading. This strategy can be quite helpful in getting a child to be more open to reading. 
  • Learn about the child’s interests (animals, sports, even video games), and provide him or her with books related to that subject matter. 
  • Give the child books with rich, high-quality printing. Younger children often enjoy “picture books” filled with many pictures, printed on good-quality or glossy paper. 
  • Ask your child to read a book, and later explain the plot, characters, and other elements of the book to you. 
  • Give your child an “exclusive bookcase” containing only children’s books. Include their favorite titles and subjects, but also introduce new books to them. 
  • Have the child involved in reading as a simple part of your everyday routine: read billboards and road signs with the child while driving; read instructions on the back of laundry detergent bottles; read product labels; read clothing labels; and read recipes while at home. 
  • Start a “family reading night”: decide, as a family, what book you’ll read. Then, once a week, read and discuss the book together. 
  • Once the child begins to read regularly, offer encouragement by giving books as gifts. 
  • With younger children, read aloud books with rhymes, such as nursery rhymes. The rhythmic sounds often help children understand cadences associated with reading. 
  • Schedule regular outings to the library: let the child obtain a library card and give the child a tour of the children’s section of books 
  • Tell the child about current events and popular culture by starting with “I read in the newspaper, that your favorite ____________________ is ___________”  
  • Children often “do as they see, not as they’re told.” Make sure you always serve as a good model by reading in front of the child often. 

By following the above tips, you may actually help your child develop a love of reading. At the very least, they will likely feel less reluctant about reading.

Good luck!