Here’s How to Motivate Children to Read

November 8, 2022

Motivate Children to Read

Some children open a book begrudgingly which can make regular reading sessions a challenge. Most schools implement daily reading minutes that children are required to record on a reading log, and parents might need to initial and date these logs to verify that their child has fulfilled their reading minutes.

Parents of readers might not have any issues with their child completing their weekly minutes. For non-readers, though, every minute with a book might seem like an eternity. For children who dislike reading, positive motivation might be crucial to ensure they read regularly. Here’s how to motivate children to read and help create a positive reading journey, too:

  • Create a rewards system
  • Don’t set a clock
  • Let children choose what they read
  • Consider alternative reading materials
  • Build a reading fort
  • Read to children
  • Use a reading app

Motivate Children to Read

Create a Rewards System

Children might be motivated to read if they feel that there is an added benefit. While parents know the educational benefit of regular reading, children who struggle to read or who just don’t like to read might be more vested in reading a book if they receive positive reinforcement when they read.

Some children might respond well to a rewards-based system. This doesn’t mean that parents need to provide children with a box of toys or treats. Instead, parents might reward regular reading with more screen time or a special privilege.

However, rewards also could be small. Children might love stickers, bookmarks or even fun erasers for pencils. Teachers also might have their own rewards system for reading.

Designate a Reading Time

Reading Rockets recommends designating a time for reading. As the site notes, creating a reading time helps children understand that reading is important. Creating a designated reading time also allows parents to make reading a part of the daily schedule.

Children might treat reading as a habit that simply becomes ingrained in their day. Reading time can be any time that is convenient for the parent and their child. Some like to read before bedtime, but other children might have more time to read right after they come home from school or after dinner.

Motivate Children to Read

Don’t Set a Clock

If parents set a clock that counts down the reading minutes, children might simply read a few pages slowly to beat the clock. Unfortunately, timers can be an unnecessary distraction for some children. In addition, they might even be counterproductive.

This doesn’t mean parents shouldn’t keep track of reading minutes—they should. Again, many schools might require parents to track minutes. However, tracking these minutes does not mean that parents need to show children the clock as it counts down the reading time.

Instead, parents can look at the time and then read with children for the set number of minutes. However, the goal of reading shouldn’t be reading a specific number of minutes but being so caught up in a book that the time doesn’t become an issue.

Also, if children become engrossed in a story and read for an hour, this time can be counted as part of the overall reading minutes. Some days children might read more than the recommended time, while other days might be less productive.

Let Children Choose what They Read

A parent might not have the same literary taste as their child. For this reason, parents shouldn’t pick their child’s book.

Reading materials should be the child’s choice. There will be plenty of moments in a child’s life when a book becomes assigned reading. When children are young, let them choose what they read for fun.

Take children to the library and let them choose a book that interests them. However, parents should make sure the book is the appropriate reading level. A book that is beyond a child’s level could leave them frustrated.

Consider Alternative Reading Materials

Schools might not stipulate that a child has to read a book. Teachers might want children to read any material. Parents can encourage their children to accrue reading minutes with magazines, graphic novels, comic books and even newspapers.

All reading can help children become better readers. If a child wants to read a comic book, let them read the comic book.

Motivate Children to Read

Build a Reading Fort

Creating a special reading environment can make books seem even more magical and create a positive reading experience. Build a reading fort with lots of pillows or pitch a tent in the basement and let children read via flashlight.

Reading forts can be whatever parents and children want them to be. Create a fun reading environment and encourage children to curl up with a good book.

Read to Children

Reading doesn’t have to require the child to tackle the book solo. In fact, some schools are fine with parents reading to children—especially in younger grades.

Older children can read aloud to their parents. Children and parents also could alternate reading a chapter or a parent can read a book and the child can read another book. Create a special reading time with children; read to them and encourage them to read aloud, too.

Let Children Re-Read Favorite Books

Understood recommends letting children re-read favorite stories. Sometimes children love a certain book, and that’s ok. Encourage them to read it again.

Re-reading can help children spot new details or uncover new information each time they read. Talk about the book together; ask children why the book is one of their favorites.

In addition, Understood explains that re-reading also helps children read quicker (or more fluently) and helps improve their accuracy, too.

Consider a Book Series

Understood also recommends introducing children to a book series and explains that parents can ask local librarians for series recommendations.

If children love a particular character in a series, they might want to continue reading more adventures featuring this character. Children might want to find out what happens next in the series.

Use a Reading App

Children who resist reading might struggle with comprehending what they read or decoding words in the story. Children with reading struggles could benefit from using a reading app that exposes them to new books and stories and encourages regular reading.

Readability is designed for children in preschool through sixth grade. The app is leveled for a child’s ability, and each reading level includes a library of books for children to enjoy.

However, Readability doesn’t just leave children on their own during their reading adventure. Readability includes a built-in AI tutor that’s programmed with voice-recognition software. Children read books in their library aloud, and the reading tutor learns the child’s voice and can identify if the child is struggling with a word.

For children who struggle with comprehension, Readability includes end-of-book quizzes that are guided by the virtual tutor. If a child answers a question incorrectly, the tutor shows them a section from the book that provides clues and the tutor reads the section aloud. The child receives another opportunity to answer the question correctly.

In addition, Readability encourages children to explore every book they read. Children can tap any word in a story to hear the word’s definition or to hear it used in a sentence. To further build a child’s vocabulary skills and encourage word mastery, Readability also includes a vocabulary list for each book.

Children also can listen to their favorite Readability stories via the Storytime feature. This feature narrates the book and children can follow along. In addition, books in Readability are included in the Accelerated Reader program; this means that children can earn AR points for reading books in the Readability app.

Parents might wonder if Readability is right for their child’s learning struggles. Parents can sign up for a free seven-day trial period to explore the program and preview the AI reading tutor. Readability offers guided reading help and immersive features to keep children engaged in reading and motivated to explore more books and stories.