How to motivate your child to read

All three of our boys have always loved stories. Even when we are so busy and shattered that we can barely keep our eyes open, we’ve always tried to read them a bedtime story.

Getting them to read to us however,  has always been a different story. I don’t know whether it’s just boys, as I don’t have girls to compare with, but pinning them down and asking them to read to us without a lot of moaning and groaning, writhing around on the floor like a disgruntled teenager and a million distractions had always been nigh on impossible.

Without wanting to bore you with all the tactics we’ve tried and me explaining all the excuses that I give because I’m too tired or need to get back on my laptop to carry on working, I’ll cut to the chase.

My first tactic, which seems to be working with my eleven year old, is book sharing. This advice came from a very wise, wonderful friend who home schooled all three of her children and they are all at University now. Her advice was to take turns reading a page each. That way you both get into the story much more quickly and it gives them the opportunity to ask questions about the story and any strange words.

Basically they read a page, then you read a page and so on and fingers crossed it seems to be working.

I’ve also been doing a bit of this with my six and eight years old at bedtime. They have the same story at night and I’ve been asking them both to takes turns with me reading a page each. They often cheat or request to skip a turn, especially if they are very tired, but anything is a bonus in the quest in ‘How to motivate your child to read’.

My second tactic and one which has been tremendous with the younger two is to completely change the time we read to early in the morning and then ask them to read ONE page only. When they’ve read it, they are then allowed to watch TV or have some ‘Tech’ time.

They are fresh in the morning, it literally only takes 5 minutes per child and it appeals to their love of achieving goals.

The first day we did it they moaned (of course they did) but when they saw how quickly it was over, they were very pleased with themselves and enjoyed writing in their school reading record and seeing very rapid progress. Realistic and easily achievable goals are awesome for my children and guess what? they often want to carry on reading beyond one page.

Another bonus of this short read is that we take time to explain unknown words and discuss the story or facts in the book, which is great for reading comprehension!

I’m not saying this will work with everyone, but as my hooligans have the attention span of a Goldfish, it’s working for us and I thought i’d share it!

Good luck in your parenting journey!

With love