5 Ways to Encourage Children to Read for Fun

Reading Dr Seus by Catherine Hammond
Child reading Dr Seus

Encourage Children to Read for Fun

Encouraging children to read in the classroom may be one thing, but how you can inspire a love of reading outside the classroom? 

Research shows that motivation to read decreases with age, especially when pupils’ attitude to reading becomes less positive. Home life is also said to be a massive influence but if parents aren’t reading around their children, how can teachers encourage children to pick up a book at home?

So here are our 5 tips and tricks to help you encourage children in your class to develop a love for reading everywhere, not just at school.

#1 Give a choice on what and how to read

Although initially this might sound obvious, we sometimes without realising don’t give young children a choice on what they are reading.

Introduce children to a variety of texts and genres to allow them to explore their own taste including WHERE they read and WHAT they read. For example: Books, eBooks, comics, magazines can give the variety alongside a variety of genres.

Because of this, you will ultimately give children the freedom to embrace a variety of different reads and see what they enjoy most which will lead to children enjoying the read more.

# 2 Make reading exciting with challenges

Reading challenges are great way to get children excited about reading and associate it with being a fun and enjoyable experience.

Here are a few we think are great:

  • ‘Extreme Reading’ Great for the school holidays. Children are challenged to think about different, exciting and fun places they can read. They can ask their parents to take pictures of them reading in strange places to show in class.
  • ‘Finish a book in a day’ Challenge children to see if they can find and finish a book in 1 day. They can share their choices with the class.
  • ‘Reading Race’ Across the school, challenge who reads the most books. Create a fun display for each year and set prizes for first to 10, 25 and 50.

If you try any of these and they work, or you have any other ideas be sure to comment on the blog or you can email us at [email protected]

#3 Change the mindset around reading

Promoting reading as a positive experience is key if you are looking to truly inspire a love of reading outside the classroom.

“Children won’t find reading pleasurable if there is too much pressure on them” says Webster. So, creating a positive ethos around reading is important.

Changing their mindset from reading being an “intelligence test” to something associated with relaxation or “escapism” from school life and/or social life, is a great way to start.

One teacher discussed escapism with her pupils and introduced library sessions by saying “we get to escape for an hour today”

#4 Read to children in class

Reading in class is a great way to get children to appreciate a good story, so this is important to increase their enjoyment of reading alone.

It allows children to visualise the characters and story in their mind and look forward to the next chapter in class, which is also great for their imagination and development. You should always try to use a variety of different books and genres to reach more children across all abilities and personal tastes. 

Creating a buzz around the book you are reading is great. Interact with the pupils and take the time to ask questions about what’s happening in the story to get everyone in the class involved.

#5 Combine technology into reading

Online books can be a great tool to use both in class and outside the classroom. Technology is continuing to advance so it’s a great way to introduce another way of reading to children.

Adding tablets or e-readers into the classroom can also increase children’s confidence in technology. Technology gives children who have grown up in an age of smartphones and computers another outlet which they are familiar with to grow and learn. 

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