September 1, 2014
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How to encourage kids to read

Reading can have a profound impact on a child’s life in and out of the classroom. Reading can help a young student develop a more extensive vocabulary, and a study from the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics found that reading to young children promotes language acquisition, making it easier for them to learn a foreign language. That’s a significant advantage for children growing up in a world that’s increasingly global.

But reading has benefits outside the classroom as well. Reading can provide an escape from the daily grind, which is something even today’s youngsters can appreciate. Reading also is a great way for kids to relax and unwind while simultaneously giving their brains a workout.

While many parents recognize the impact reading can have on their children, it’s no secret that getting kids to embrace reading can be difficult. Distractions such as video games, social media and even the great outdoors are all there to draw kids away from reading. But parents who want to instill a love of reading in their children can still take steps to ensure their kids don’t miss out on the benefits of a good book.

Read to your children. Numerous studies have discovered various benefits of reading to children when they are young. The National Center for Education Statistics notes that children whose parents read to them typically become better readers and perform better in school. Reading to children early on is the first step toward fostering a love of reading kids will develop and continue throughout their lives. Many parents read to their children at night before bedtime, but any time of day will suffice.

Don’t be discouraged if kids are not interested in books. While reading fiction can help develop a youngster’s imagination, parents should not be discouraged if kids don’t want to read books. Reading the newspaper, magazines and even comic books can help kids develop strong reading skills and an extensive vocabulary and, in the case of comic books, inspire their imaginations. Young sports fans might be more inclined to read the sports page than a novel, so let them do so. Kids are more likely to embrace reading if what they’re reading interests them, so encourage kids to read up on those interests, even if that reading does not involve picking up a book.

Get your youngster his or her own library card. Thanks to the popularity of e-readers, many adults would be hard pressed to locate their local library if asked to do so. But visiting the library is a great way to encourage kids to read, especially if kids have their own library cards. Kids with their own library cards tend to look at visits to the library as shopping trips where they get to make their own choices about what they’re taking home with them. And once kids reach a certain age, they can visit the library on their own.

Share your own reading experiences with children. Kids look up to their parents and often want to mimic their behavior. So parents can set a good example by reading as well. On trips to the library, check out your own book. While you might not want to discuss every book you read with your children, discuss the books they’re reading. Chances are you read many of those same books yourself when you were a child, and discussing books with your child is a great way to improve his or her reading comprehension.

Distractions abound for today’s youngsters, who might not embrace reading as readily as they do video games or social networking. But parents can take many steps to instill a love of reading in their kids that will last a lifetime.


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