There are many summer reading programs or online literature courses that can encourage your child to read. Some are based on grade level and meet in intervals as a group with a teacher to discuss a book or chapters they read. I have found my daughter enjoys the online interaction with other kids as they discuss the book, These courses also work especially well for the emerging reader who is transitioning from illustrated books to chapter novels.
6) Work together to set a reading goal for the year
It is much easier to get your child’s support when he/she is involved in the decision-making process of what the reading goals are for the year. One that works well is to get a collection of illustrated classics (you can also access these at your local library or free online libraries) for your pre-teen e.g. Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Black, Beauty, Moby Dick, etc. If they can read one of these short books a week, by the end of the year you could give them a prize for their efforts. You could also make it into a game where for every book they read that you pick, they can pick and read any appropriate book they like.
5) Read along with them
Reading along with your pre-teen or teen works in multiple ways. It gives you something in common to talk about, since, as your child enters their teen years, having anything in common to discuss can be helpful in keeping strong ties with them. Have discussions with your child about the characters, their actions and if they would have done things differently. Reading along with them also allows you to follow what they are reading to make sure it is appropriate.
4) Let them pick the books they want to read
I have to say, this was a challenge for me, especially since I was an English major in college and my inherent love of Shakespeare and the poetic classics pushed me to buy more of these kinds of books for my 7-year-old who, to my uttermost dismay, preferred her collection of “The Adventures of Captain Underpants”. However, once I learned to respect her individuality and the joy she found in reading her Captain Underpants books it became easier for her to accept my introduction of illustrated Shakespearean classics. Your goal is to foster a love of reading.
3) Provide access to reading materials
Have as many age-appropriate books as you can in your home. I stock up on books when they come on sale or from the discount store. If you can’t, join a local library. Get your child a free personal library card. Take them there regularly and show them how much fun it is to pick books and check them out. They also learn responsibility when they have to remember to return the book to avoid a penalty. If you have a computer or smart phone, there are many free online books or libraries you can get access to. For the young ones, encourage them to sound out the words on billboards or on their cereal boxes. They will start to learn that reading is a fun activity that can be done almost anywhere and anytime.
2) Read to them daily
This is the single best habit you can start to do to foster reading at a young age. You can starting reading to them right from birth. In kindergarten or first grade you can start encouraging them to sound out the short words on their own and even reading entire short books to you. A good time I have found for my kids is right before bedtime.
1) Lead by example
When your kids hit pre-teen years, they start looking to see if you practice what you preach. My daughter frequently politely reminds me to not talk with my mouth full or read a book instead of spending time on social media. Your kids are always watching what you do. If you are an avid reader, they will naturally follow suit.
What tips work for you? Share your thoughts below!