Encouraging tamariki to read for pleasure

Reading for pleasure is not only an enjoyable experience – it’s also good for your child’s development.

A 2021 literature review called Reading for pleasure for the collective good of Aotearoa New Zealand highlights the benefits to children of reading for pleasure.

Some of the proven benefits of reading for pleasure include: better school performance, longer life, better mental wellbeing and healthier eating.

While reading for pleasure may come naturally for some kids, others may need a bit of gentle encouragement.

Here are some top tips to help encourage your tamariki to read for pleasure:

1. Read to your child from a young age

Read to your baby and child each day from a young age to foster a love of books, reading and learning. Make reading a part of your child’s bedtime ritual – there’s nothing nicer than having a cuddle and reading a book before bedtime to feel connected and to instil a life-long love of reading.

2. Be a good role model

If your child sees you reading for pleasure, it will help them develop a love of reading and see it as something enjoyable to do.

3. Let them choose their own books

As your child gets older, don’t force certain books or style of books on them as this could put them off reading. Let them choose what they want to read to help encourage them and get them excited.

4. Make it a habit

While it’s important to let your child to read when they feel like it, it’s also a good idea to make it a daily habit. For example, encourage them to read each night in their own bed before they go to sleep, especially as they get older. You could even let them stay up a bit later as long as they are reading.

5. Share books with family/friends

Encourage your children to share books and recommend ones they really like to each other. Ask your child about what they are reading and why they like it to encourage discussion. Read some of the books your kids are reading so you can talk about them.

6. Visit the local library

Join the local library and start taking your kids at a very young age to encourage them to read. Libraries have an amazing range of books that are free! They also have lots of fun activities for kids that encourage reading.

7. Read a series

If your child finds a book or author they like, encourage them to read more by the same author or read a series if it’s available.

8. Limit screen time

Screen time is a massive distraction for kids these days and competes for their attention. Limit their screen time to help encourage them to read.

9. Have books in the house

Having lots of books in the house encourages kids to read and gives them an opportunity to grab a book and read it. You can also create a quiet, cosy reading space in the house where they can sit down and read without distractions.

Reference

  1. Kiwi kids who read for pleasure will do well in other ways – it’s everyone’s responsibility to encourage them The conversation, Lecturers Auckland University of Technology, 2021
  2. Reading for pleasure for the collective good of Aotearoa New Zealand National Library, NZ, 2021
  3. The importance of talking, reading, drawing, counting The Ministry of Education, NZ, 2020