How to encourage your child to read

How to encourage your child to read

September 8 marks International Literacy Day. Here is how parents can encourage their children to develop excellent reading skills.

Mother and son reading
Mother and son reading/ iStock

Many children in South Africa cannot read. Statistics show that eight out of every 10 children in South Africa can’t read properly. This is alarming. 

READ: We’re in a crisis! Government tackles reading at schools

There could be a number of reasons for this - lack of reading material in schools, problematic Foundation Phase curriculum or children not spending much time reading. However, the problem can be solved. 

One of the ways to tackle the problem is to ensure that as a parent, you buy interesting books for your children to read. This is the first step in ensuring that your child has the material they need in order to develop their reading skills. 

READ: Meet the boy who could read and write at the age of one

Parents also need to take an interest in their child's studies. Don't leave teachers to do all the work. Sit down with your child to evaluate their progress. 

Reading a bedtime story and making it a fun activity is also a good way to show your children that reading does not have to be a boring activity.

It is also important to talk about the lessons your children learned at the end of the book to encourage them to look at reading as something valuable, entertaining, and educational.  

Below, Anne Glass, a Reading and Learning Specialist Vlogger, shares more tips that parents can follow to promote reading skills. 

Set time for your child to read daily

Glass says parents need to encourage their children to read for at least 20-30 minutes every day. 

Let your children watch you read

Children learn by watching their parents. Glass says parents need to love reading and ensure their children watch them read. This way, she says the children will likely develop a desire to also join their parents and read. 

"Children who grow up in a household where reading is a desired activity are much more likely to be independent readers on their own," says Glass. 

READ: 5 reasons to read more

Have a designated reading place 

It is very important for your child to have a designated reading place. This doesn't have to be on a table and chair, but it can even be on the sofa or bed, just as long as your child feels comfortable. 

Eliminate distractions

Many children cannot concentrate when there is noise. Parents need to ensure that things such as the television, computer, and other gadgets won't be a distraction to their children. Also, ensure that other siblings won't distract your child. 

Watch the video below to see more tips:

Image courtesy of iStock/ @monkeybusinessimages

Show's Stories