Encouraging reading in children and young people with effective strategies is extremely important for them to acquire the habit of reading and not waste time in unproductive activities. This will help their formation and become more educated and educated people.
One of the things that seems to worry parents and teachers today is that children and adolescents read less and less.
Children’s free time is frequently occupied by extra-curricular activities and, above all, by the use of television and new technologies. The computer, video games, television, the Tablet … are tools that have now stolen prominence to books.
How to Encourage Reading
In addition, the little curiosity and interest that children and young people show, in a general way, by reading is also alarming. Sometimes they find it boring and they end up doing it as an obligation and not as the enjoyment of reading.
Why is it essential to encourage reading and reading habits?
It is important to develop a taste for reading and reading habit given the benefits of reading for the individual.
An essential aspect of reading is that it is a fundamental way to access culture.
Reading, in an instrumental way, allows students to learn at school. Mastering reading is an essential requirement to be able to carry forward the rest of school subjects.
Therefore, in many studies a correlation has been found between reading competence and academic performance.
Other studies have linked students’ academic performance and their love for reading, which has been measured through reading habits.
Taking into account the data of the Spanish in reading comprehension and school failure, it seems necessary to do something imminent to favor reading competence.
In addition to all this, there are many other benefits that children can find in reading. Reading is fun, it expands knowledge, allows you to live new stories, develop your imagination and brings you closer to realities that you could not know otherwise.
Reading is a source of pleasure, a source of imagination and fantasy and knowledge, knowledge and information.
Actually, getting individual readers should be a main objective of the education of children and young people, since this will be one of the fundamental learnings for the rest of their lives.
For this, collaboration and the continuous animation of the reading of all is important: parents, teachers and professors, the context, the libraries, the media …
The animation of reading could be defined as “a conscious act to produce an affective or intellectual approach to a specific book so that this experience produces an approach to the world of books as something fun” (Carmen Olivares).
The animation to the reading supposes inviting the boy to live histories through the reading, to approach it to the books of fun and pleasant way, without pressures.
We speak of reader habit because it is not innate. Children are not born appreciating the value of books. All this will depend on the practice and the context in which it is developed, on the situations that we put at your disposal so that you can know the reading.
11 Strategies to encourage reading
1. Read, act with your example!
The golden rule to get a taste for reading in children is to see their main models read. The parents’ reading habits influence those of their children.
The attitudes and habits of parents influence the acquisition of the attitudes and habits of their children. That is why it is important for parents to read
and enjoy reading so children can internalize it in such a way.
The love of reading is something that children learn at home when their parents spend time reading and enjoying books.
The main factor to take into account in the formation of the reading habit and is the behavior and attitude of readiness of the family.
This does not mean, however, that the school has no role in all this. School (formal education) has always been associated with reading. And also the experiences and models that children observe here will have an impact on their configuration towards books.
Different investigations have shown that when children are encouraged to read by their parents or when children see their parents read, they have greater reading habits.
The reading habits of parents and the attitudes they show towards books have also translated into children having a taste for reading and developing reading behaviors.
2. Offer reading as a fun leisure alternative
For your child to see reading as fun, offer him activities where he can prove it.
The attitudes that you show towards reading are necessarily translated into offering reading as an alternative of fun leisure, where reading and books are the central aspect.
Different studies have shown that the reading habit is more developed among those people who have reading as an essential element in their leisure time.
There are various activities where stories have a key role: for example, go to public libraries together, have a reading card, attend the storytelling that they often do for free, observe reading groups, literary contests, book Fair…
Going to plays or musicals is another way of encouraging reading. And some movies based on books too.
Positive attitudes towards reading by the family predicts the reading ability of children and adolescents.
For example, the PISA report that places Finland as the leading country in reading comprehension showed that it was explained mainly because they showed great interest in reading and were committed to it.
It is important that reading is present within the activities that occupy family leisure time for the child to integrate as an alternative leisure.
3. Share reading time with your child
In addition to reading parents and children separately, it is important to provide times for family members to read together.
The child will develop his reading habit and choosing the books that he likes the most so that he can start reading.
But it is important that you spend some time exclusively so that you read and share the reading together.
That time together, which is also leisure time, allows us to understand and reflect on stories and knowledge that the child could not otherwise access .
Talking about the readings or keeping in mind the readings that have been made can be a good topic of conversation with your child.
4. You have to find a time to read every day!
One of the issues for which one says not to read is “for lack of time”. It is important to find a place a day to read even a few pages.
We are talking about forming a habit, and for this it is essential to have a routine and be constant in reading.
The habit of reading in children leads them to master the technique and this will affect many other areas of their life: they can read for pleasure, facilitate their progress in formal education …
5. Reserve a space in the home for reading
A good option is to have a place at home for the family library and to have the books.
You can be encouraged to have your own library and it is important that you have the books at your fingertips. That he can take the books whenever he wants and can sit down and read voluntarily.
You can dedicate a comfortable and silent area so you can get close to reading.
6. Give books, give experiences
The books are also a good gift. Many times we give away clothes, toys … giving away books can be a great option.
You can take advantage of certain occasions such as birthdays or Christmas, but you can also take advantage of other situations to give away books.
When you travel somewhere, you can go to select a guide of the place. If the child is interested in some topics (space, human body …) go to a bookstore (or library) to choose a book on that subject is also an ideal option.
7. Adapt the books to the characteristics of your child
If we want the child to read, the books have to be adapted to him, “made to measure”.
When a person reads, he finds books that he likes, books that he does not like, books that make him think, books he wants to read again …
All this is part of reading, but it is important not to force the child. Respect their tastes.
The books have to be adapted to their age, which are not very easy for him (that is, of lower ages, because the subject will not be appropriate) or very difficult (we run the risk that he does not understand it and prefers to leave it).
The books that can be more complicated we can choose them to read them together and to be able to comment them.
Reading must be part of a person’s lifestyle and must be based on their preferences and the needs they present.
Adapting to its characteristics implies being attentive to the interests it shows in order to reach them through books.
It is a frequent practice in the classroom to homogenize reading in children. In this way, it will be difficult to get all children interested. Each one of them is different.
Respecting the child in reading is the first step to get interest and love for books.
8. Books have to be fun
Some surveys carried out for children show that children read more than adults.
However, when we turn to interest in reading, the figures are alarming. Children read, but by obligation.
It is important to bear in mind that reading has to be a pleasure and that we have to make an effort and put effort to offer children and young people an environment that fosters interest in reading.
There is no point in forcing children to read. If they read by obligation, when they have an opportunity they will stop doing it and the effect that we will have generated in them is the opposite to the desired one.
Reading does not have to be a punishment. Reading has to be fun. For this, it is necessary that they find it attractive and not a mere curricular instrument that is mandatory to do in school.
We can not forget that if we want children to be habitual readers it is necessary that they learn to value reading and that they want to read voluntarily.
9. In the variety is the taste. Diversity of readings!
In reading we find an infinity of variety. Although children should not be forced to read everything, it is important to encourage them to know the variety and to have it at their fingertips.
Children should have access to stories, illustrated books, comics, comics, novels with different genres.
Diversity will encourage you to be curious and help you discern your own interests. All this will allow him to animate himself and to know other worlds.
As parents and teachers our task will be to accompany them and teach them to discriminate between all the existing offer. They must define their taste and for that they need time and variety of reading.
10. Make activities of animation to the reading. Be creative!
To encourage the reading habit and develop an interest in reading, it does not necessarily have to be read.
Different learning should be encouraged and encouraged in children. Reading and writing in teaching must be reconsidered.
Reading can be experienced and experienced not only instrumentally but also creatively and recreationally.
There are many reader games that can be done: create poetry, do script workshops, play with rhymes, riddles, dramatizations, book-forums …
You can reinvent stories, change the ending to stories, make stories upside down … all this implies offering creative writing that allows you to learn and be interested in reading from another point of view.
It is about generating pleasure, so it must be read but also thinking about attractive activities that allow the child or adolescent to enter the world of reading.
For example, reading can also be accessed through cooking recipes (preparing cookies or a cake), and helping you find the recipe and read it as a natural process of established dynamics.
You can use daily and daily situations to read. In the day to day there are many things to read. Involving children in this task awakens curiosity about reading.
It is important not to obsess over learning to read or being constantly telling them to read. Spend time, read with them, tell them many stories … All this will awaken curiosity about books.
Reading animation involves developing imagination and creativity, curiosity, a playful and positive climate, becoming aware of the importance of books as a source of information and culture.
The reading animation aims to improve the habit and reading quality, expand the horizons of children, learn to value and care for bibliographic material .
It aims to develop the lexicon, acquire more communicative competence, use dialogue, form thought.
11. Create communication situations
An alternative to awaken a taste for reading is to create situations where you invite your children to express themselves about reading.
You can comment on what you have read, what you liked, what you admire about a book … You can ask them about their tastes, about the book they have read.
When you read with them, be attentive to the reactions they present. This will allow you to then discuss with them certain parts of the reading.
Explain the words that do not understand, is a very useful way to expand the vocabulary. When the reading is finished, you can ask about the characters, what end could the alternative have been, what do they think will happen next …
How should animation be to reading?
The family is the place where children develop socially and psychologically. It is the first agent of socialization of the child.
The norms, the values, the attitudes towards the world that affect their development and the way of seeing the world are acquired fundamentally in the home, through their parents.
Surveys indicate that children read, but not out of interest, rather out of obligation. New technologies and other leisure offers are eating ground for reading. We have to make an effort to make reading an interesting and fun alternative for them.
The animation to the reading must be part of a global and continuous program, where all the agents that affect the development of the child act in the same direction.
The animation must be voluntary. The child has to want to participate in the reading so as not to generate the opposite effect to the desired one.
In addition, it must be active. Reading is active and dynamic, the child listens, reads, plays on everything he discovers through reading. You have to participate, be a participant in the process.
To develop programs of animation to the reading where the age of the participants is taken into account, to know their reading habits, to collaborate families, libraries, librarians, cultural associations … It is a very good option to develop the reading habit.
Reading is a complex process that involves not only cognitive and linguistic factors, but also contextual or environmental factors, which are fundamentally those that facilitate the acquisition of reading.
The family is the one who exercises a more clear and direct influence on the reading motivation of children and the pleasure for books is aroused through motivation and interest.
Reflections on reading
The issue of lack of reading in the population is common in all age groups, affects children, adolescents and adults.
In the global world in which we develop, reading is also influenced by the number of different activities that compete with it in leisure and free time alternatives.
School and family are the main agents of child socialization and the main environments where their education is developed.
And for all this, the relationships established between these two educational agents and the fact that both of them look in the same direction are important.
The importance of reading and the interest it can arouse for children is a relevant and essential task not only from school, but also from the family.
The promotion of reading must be approached from a social, cultural, educational, and political perspective. Reading must be a priority in the formation of individuals.
What is reading?
The reading supposes to execute of suitable way four different processes that take place before a text:
a) perception, where the person extracts the signs and recognizes the different linguistic units (the words).
b) the lexicon, which gives meaning to the different words (in the memory we have a lexicon store).
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c) the syntax, where we analyze the various words that are in the sentences and give grammatical meaning to them.
d) the semantic, which is the process that gives meaning to the message.
All these processes influence the reading and the way in which the person reads. However, we must also take into account the context where the person develops, which also influence it.
The essence of reading involves constructing a meaning through the personal and intimate encounter between the individual who reads, the reader, and the text itself, the author.
In this process, the affective and cognitive world of the writer converges, through words, and the reader’s, who gives voice to it.
Reading is an active process where the reader, in the encounter with the book, adopts an active role and builds the meaning of the words and message of the writer, that which has real meaning for him.
In the reading the subject sets in motion a series of cognitive processes and these, in turn, activate the previous knowledge of the subject that will act as a frame of reference in reading.
Therefore, reading is important in linguistic competence, in the formal learning of the child in school and also throughout his life.