Reading is radballs! Fun ways to encourage kids

Reading is radballs title

Reading takes us places. It broadens our horizons. It shows us what is possible!

Best of all, reading for fun and pleasure is a key to future success. Woot woot!

Kids that read for fun make more progress in their schooling than kids that don't. Not just a little bit - studies have shown that kids perform significantly better at school if they read for fun most days. 

So, if reading is fun and beneficial, why wouldn't you? 

That's a question that challenges both teachers and parents - why won't more kids read for fun?

Reading gives us a place to go

Between 2012 and 2020, the percentage of children who read for fun has fallen.

Check this out: just 42% of 9 year olds read for fun most days. To hit that home, less than half of 9 year olds now read regularly for enjoyment!

And we're going backwards, according to a study from the Pew Research Centre

By the time a child turns 13 years old, less than 1 in 5 read for fun most days.

1 in 5 thirteen year olds read for fun

Here's the good news: kids who read for fun even some of the time are more likely to perform better in literacy tests.  

There hasn't been a more important time to encourage kids to read. 

The good news continues - we can encourage kids to read whatever form they choose. Kids know what kids like! 

When a kid chooses to read something - anything - it adds a stepping stone towards becoming a person who gets joy from regularly reading. 

Kid reading a comic book

4 ways to encourage kids to read for enjoyment

Special space 

Kids need the opportunity - the time, the space. It sounds so obvious yet this is fundamental.

When do the kids have time to read? Specifically, when? Could they do with some more reading time carved into their day?

Without the opportunity, any reading material is going to gather dust.

If we make the time and space for reading part of their leisure time, kids will associate reading with relaxation and enjoyment.

Give reading some special space in our schedules. If a child can associate 'reading' with 'leisure time', it helps to make reading fun for them!

Headturning topics

Scatter around kids books on topics that turn their heads. You know, strategically-but-accidentally drop around a book or three (hinting is a talent that comes with being a parent, we're just so good at it!).

What are their headturning topics? 

What gets their attention every time?

Perhaps it's ponies, pirates-arrrgh, sports or space. It could be a favourite movie series, or even a video game - there's a book for almost every popular movie and game.

When a child is interested in a topic, their intrigue is going to knock away any reading barriers.

It's never about the book, it's always about what's inside. 

Headturning topics turn books into gloriously fun experiences, so grab some from the library, book store or online. 

Boy reading superhero book with a torch

Ooh this is new...

There are so many exciting reading options that grab kids' attentions and whisk them away to somewhere different!

It certainly doesn't need to be a novel; kids love to devour new things. Comics or magazines? Adventure guides? Graphic novels? Funny animals in a pictorial piece? 

These attention grabbers form a bridge to regular reading. They're as valuable as a chapter book if they spark joy. 

For us, our favourite 'new things' are activity books.

Activity books encourage kids to interact, such as draw, solve and literally rip out parts of pages! 

Activity books are hands-on, minds-on, hearts-on fun. Kids just love the fun interactivity. 

Don't Eat This Book activity book

An example of an activity book - it's an interactive book! 

A role model

"If they can see it, they can be it." Let kids see others reading for fun. 

The best role model for reading is ... you!

Let the kids see you reading material that you enjoy. If kids see you finding value in reading, they will wonder what they're missing out on. 

If you read a good part, share it with them and enjoy the moment together. 

Best of all, you'll be doing something for you, by carving out time to read about things that turn your own head.  

Reading is a winner ... for the kids, and for you.

 Lisa Wiese - Incredible Kids ActivitiesABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lisa is the founder of Incredible Kids Activities. Working previously in designing activities that positively impact families within visitor centres and children's hospitals, her goal is to help kids to grow their aspirations. As part of Incredible Kids Activities she now gets to accomplish that every day. Lisa resides in sunny Perth, Australia with her family.


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