This piece was written by Umm Nusaybah, a stay at home mum to three beautiful blessings. She is an ardent reader and enthusiast of childrens literature and aspiring author. These handy tips will help any reluctant reader develop a stronger connection to books and reading. 

Tips to Encourage a Reluctant Reader

1. Let them be boss!

No two children are the same, and their interests vary immensely. Let them choose what they want to read. Don’t worry too much about what they pick initially (within reason) there’s always that one place to start which creates stepping stones to making reading fun!

2. Create opportunities for ‘ accidental’ reading

Some children might find the sit down and read time a bit daunting, especially if they are not fluent readers. Creating opportunities for reading whether it is the menu at a restaurant or the directions to board games or even being a co- pilot in the car by helping you read street names to find your way around.

3. Pair up

Team up with like minded families and form a book club where children can model good reading habits to each other and at the same time enhance their reading experience by sharing their thoughts along the way. This will also provide parents an opportunity to give their input on various topics relevant to the book of choice in a fun relaxed atmosphere.

4. Be a role model

We all know as parents, children do as they see not as they’re told. So if you want them to pick up a book and read, make sure you are doing the same too!

5. Think outside the box

Go on a second hand books scavenger hunt! Hit the op shops or garage sales in your area. Make it an outing exclusively with your child. Who knows you might find hidden gems from your childhood that you can share with your child.

6. Make reading a pleasurable experience

Audiobooks are an invaluable resource to encourage active listening and critical thinking skills, which are both necessary for reading and comprehension. If you can find one with a copy of the book, that’s even better. Listen in the car or during quiet time at home, the sound effects and narrations bring books to life.

7 . Create a reading nook

Choose a space in your home with ample natural light and minimal distractions and involve your child in transforming it into a cozy reading nook. Adding pillows, beanbags, low lying bookshelves or other items can help them get away from the desk and get comfortable reading!

8. Connect them to books

Show them that books can be a means of learning a new skill or just be plain old silly. Does your child like to get creative in the art corner? Then introduce them to books with step-by-step instructions on creating childhood masterpieces. Do they have a silly sense of humor? Tell them a joke or riddle and then pull out the book you got it from and take turns making each other laugh.

9. Family Reading Night

We’ve all heard of a family movie night, but why not put a spin on it and make it a family reading night? Pick a book or series that you will all enjoy, cook up some nibbles and sit down and read together. No matter what his or her age, everyone enjoys listening to a story!

10. Create Incentives

If your kids are big on screen time, take them to the on-screen adaptation of a children’s classic once they’ve finished reading it.

Please feel free share your tips on how you inculcate the love of reading in your household.