When I was a kid, I LOVED to read. I remember “reading” even when I didn’t really know how. Take this picture, for example.
I think this picture is a good representation of my motivation to read. I was easily motivated to learn and read more because I enjoyed the activity, had access to books and comfortable spaces in which to read.
However, not every child is alike. How revelationary! It’s a simple fact, but sometimes we can forget and may get discouraged if we don’t keep that in mind. Not every child loves to read or is motivated to read. Sometimes motivating children may seem intimidating, but it can be simpler than you might think.
SIMPLER THAN YOU MIGHT THINK…
It doesn’t have to be difficult. I want you to think EASE. I came up with this simple acronym that’s way less scary than the somewhat overwhelming idea of motivating someone to do something who doesn’t want to do it.
Example. Access. Space. Encouragement.
Let’s dive into each of these a little more deeply.
EASE OF MOTIVATION
Perhaps one of the most influential ways to motivate is leading by example. If your child sees that you love to read, they will be more likely to develop a love of reading, too. Make a point to read more yourself, whether it be the morning newspaper, a novel you love or maybe even your home magazine. Once your child develops interest in what you’re doing, you can offer to read to him/her.
Providing access to books is extremely important as children are learning to read. Having a designated place on your bookshelf for some of your child’s reads is one idea. If you don’t have books at home for your children, you can start with acquiring just one or two. Maybe you still have some of your old childhood books in the attic. Dust them off, add them to the shelf and share that with your child. Don’t feel that you have to buy them an entire library’s-worth of books to motivate them.
The important thing is to offer some sort of access to books so that they can read. You might even start simply by taking your child to the local public library once a week.
If you create a cool space for your child to read, they might just want to read more often and longer. Creating a cozy reading nook doesn’t have to be difficult or elaborate. Struggling for ideas? Check out our Pinterest board: Reading Spaces for creative examples.
You don’t even have to have one single designated space. You can show your child that a reading space can be ANYWHERE. If you have a porch swing, simply adding a quilt and pillow for comfort can make it a special space for those breezy spring Arkansas days.
And, sometimes, there’s no better place to read than a cozy spot on the floor with a pillow and a furry friend.
Lastly, speak positively. Encouraging reading activities and praising your child for what they ARE doing goes a long way. Many times, these little ones just need a little boost of confidence. Check out some tips and resources that we share with our tutors here. (Note: There are many activities/ideas in our Tutor Manual)
I hope that you have found both relief and inspiration through these tips. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how much EASE can do for you and your child. Happy reading!