My biggest piece of advice would be to first of all get them to start reading when they’re really young, and possibly even teach your kids how to read yourself rather than waiting for them to start going to school/kindergarten. My eight year old cousin didn’t read until she was five and whenever you try to read with her she comes up with the classic excuse of ‘I can’t read’. My mum, on the other hand, taught me how to read when I was only two and read both to me and with me as much as possible, which leads on to my next piece of advice.
Reading isn’t just for bedtime! Lots of kids like bedtime stories to help them sleep but reading isn’t just for one specific part of the day. Set out some time each day to read during the day, to show that reading is for fun, that it’s not a chore and it’s not just to help you go to sleep. I can’t even remember the last time I read before going to sleep.
This next thing I have to say is something that I know not all parents will agree with me on, and it’s to not control too much what your kids read. Obviously don’t let your five year old read Fifty Shades of Grey or The Silence of the Lambs, that’s just common sense. The best way I can explain this is through experience. My family is what I call semi-religious (my mum and my brother go to church, while my dad and I don’t because we don’t like the church that they go to), and the people at the church we’re connected to are pretty sensitive. There’s no way of putting that lightly, they’re really sensitive to a lot of things you’ll see in films rated above 12. And that’s because they’ve always been told ‘you can’t read this, look at the content’ and ‘you can’t watch that, you’re not old enough’. Once I got to a certain age, my parents were perfectly fine with what I read or watched on TV because it doesn’t influence me. If you think that your child is mature enough, then they can move up a reading level when they want to, instead of feeling like they’re stuck reading things that are too easy for them.
And my last piece of advice, which could be given to anybody really, is that it’s okay to not want to read at that moment in time. If you just don’t feel like reading, don’t force yourself to! You could catch up on your favourite TV show, watch a film, beat that level that’s been annoying you in the latest game you’ve been playing, and when you come back to your books you’ll be ready to read!
What advice would you give?
Louise is a bookworm, writer, and aspiring librarian from the North East of England. When she’s not reading or procrastinating writing, she can be found dreaming up story ideas, watching anime, movies, or trashy reality TV, and annoying her pets.