Want to know how to get kids to read?

With so many distractions it can be hard to get kids to read. Experts reveal five simple tips to motivate and encourage them.

1. Let them choose their reading material.

“It needs to be fun and not a chore,” says Susan Stephenson from The Book Chook blog. Forcing your kids to read and pushing them to pick up your childhood favourites won’t work. It’s all about engagement. Give them freedom to choose for themselves and help them find reading material that relates to their interests. Libraries are great for this.

2. Read with them.

If your kids are young this is absolutely the best thing you can do. Read with your kids, read to your kids and get them to read out loud with you. It’s one of the surest ways to build confidence. “It’s the best way to keep reading a social activity and not a task”, says Professor Beryl Exley, National President of the Australian Literacy Educators’ Association.

3. Invest in audio books.

As your children get older there’s a good chance bed time stories will become a thing of the past. But now audio books are making it easier than ever to keep the magic of storytelling alive. “Audio books are a fantastic opportunity to engage children who are struggling with reading,” says Professor Exley who also suggests getting a favourite relative to audio record books on an i-pad and send it to your kids as a way to boost engagement.

4. Incentivise reading.

Even writers of children’s fiction can struggle to get their kids reading. But offering rewards can work. The Peski Kids author R A Spratt had reluctant readers in her family and even paid her daughters pocket money to read.

“Harry Potter was $4. They’d get 20 cents for a comic.”

Reading in exchange for screen time is another good method. “Half an hour a day or no i-pad seemed to work too. Now they’re older they read a lot for pleasure,” says Spratt.

5. Let them see you reading.

This is a big one. You spend a lot of time looking at your phone and guess what, your kids want to look at your phone too. If they see you enthralled in a book, it sends a powerful message.

“Role model reading is so important,” says Professor Exley.

“Children want to be connected to adults. In this sense we can use psychology to our advantage. If your child sees you reading for pleasure they’ll see it as an opportunity to be connected to the adult world.”

On a personal note, the best advice I can give you is to keep trying. Never give up. I was a late developer and didn’t really enjoy reading until I reached double figures. Now as a writer, words are my life. I’ve written a children’s book called Whitebeard – jam packed with action and adventure it’s sure to get your kids into reading and a perfect book for you to enjoy together.

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