As a parent, you are aware how crucial reading is to your child’s future. It helps them develop speech and language skills, build vocabulary, stimulates their creativity, and sets them up for later academic success. With all this riding on you, what can you do to foster a life-long love of reading in your child, especially when they have little interest in it? Here are some tips on how you can get your child to fall in love with reading.

Read to Your Kids

The first and most obvious tip is to read to your kids. Start early and make it a regular ritual between you and your child. This will not only strengthen your parent-child bond, but it will also give your child a taste for reading. Reading to your infant will help them to begin learning language and speech patterns. Bedtime is a good time for a regular book session, it will help your child relax at the end of the day and they will be a captive audience.

Choose Appropriate Books

The second tip is to choose books that are appropriate based on age and interests. Forcing your child to listen to a story that is above their comprehension, or that does not catch their attention, will be counterproductive and may make them resent reading. Get your child age-appropriate books with themes that play to their interests. Allow them to choose which books you will read at story time to gain an understanding of their tastes, and then get similar books when you are at the library or bookstore. Be warned that early on they may get attached to one book and request it repeatedly, this is normal and will pass with time. Do your best to encourage them to branch out but do not force the issue.

Foster Their Love of Books

The third tip is for when your children are able to read on their own. Just because they do not need you to read for them, does not mean your work is done. You can help them keep a passion for reading by taking them to the library, buying books as gifts, and by reading the same books so you can discuss them together. Definitely pick up the reading list that your child is assigned for school.These are generally great books and you can assess your child’s comprehension of the themes and concepts in the stories when you discuss them.

Provide Incentives for the Reluctant Reader

The final tip is for when your child is resistant to reading. You can help by giving incentives such as treats or rewards for reading each day. You can also tie reading time to TV or video game time, so that for each hour they read they are allowed to watch an equal amount of TV. It is important to not force them to read things they are not interested in. Let them choose books they connect with. Make sure they can find books they are interested in enough to finish and they will begin to appreciate reading even more.