How to get your kids hooked on books

“Reading is good for you.” We’ve all heard that before, but for some children, it just doesn’t sink in. How will spending hours flipping through the pages of a book help? How is this even fun?

If you’re a parent and you’re reading this, it may sound familiar. It could be that your child just hasn’t found the joy of reading; not yet, anyway.

I was like those children,  too. I hated the thought of reading. With the constant pressure to read from my parents, I was reading for its sake. I didn’t fully understand why I was being forced to do it. How could anyone find it enjoyable?

This is a problem many parents of young kids encounter – how to get their kids to read. It’s a challenge, and it affects their writing skills as well. If you don’t read, your command of the language will not be as good as someone who reads a lot.

Here are some ways to get young kids to read:

1)    Get your child to spend time with people who read

Getting your child to mix with other people interested in books can pique their interest in reading. A child will be inclined to follow their peers, like following the latest trends in school. If their friends are book enthusiasts, your child will likely follow suit.

2)    Find books that suit your child’s interests

Every child is unique and special in their own way, and finding the right books for them can be tricky. You can buy books of different genres and see which of them your child gravitates to. From there, you can understand their preferences and find the right books for them. Finding the right books for your child is very important in developing your child’s interest in reading. For example, your child might be interested in science. Buying her books with fairytales won’t make sense. Perhaps books that involve science, puzzles, and mysteries would be a better idea. Finding the right books means changing your child’s mindset, completely reshaping their perspective on how they view reading.

3)    It doesn’t have to be fiction

When buying books for your child, you don’t have to stick to fiction. Non-fiction books can spark your child’s interest, too. Who knows? Your child may want to indulge in facts and statistics more than a fantasy book about aliens. Many children who love dinosaurs like books with facts and figures about pre-historic animals. Different people have different preferences and interests, and that’s why not all children enjoy reading fiction.

4)    Old books = boring

Just because you enjoyed reading the classics as a child, doesn’t mean that your child will prefer them, too. Just like how your child doesn’t like that shirt you bought for them, they might not find the intricate prose by Charles Dickens as enjoyable as you did as a child. Even if there are old books in your house, don’t force your child to read them. Let them discover books by themselves. Doing that will make reading all the more enjoyable.

5) Shiny and new

Sometimes, kids like to buy new books. Go to a bookstore and spend some time browsing. Tell your children they can buy one book each. This will result in your children browsing books and finding something they want to read. They might prefer something new with pages that nobody has flipped through before rather than an old book with yellowed pages and images on the cover that look dated. Even if the story is the same, some children still prefer to read a new book. So, don’t be upset if you saved all your childhood books, only to see your child lacking interest in all of them.

Getting your child to read is a process that will take a while, but reading will ultimately be an essential part of your child’s life in the future. By introducing your child to reading, you’re introducing them to an entirely new world. A world where they can escape reality, find inspiration, or just relax after a long day. A place where they can improve – it’s not just about staring blankly at pages filled with words. It’s much more than that. Reading can help your children view the world from different perspectives, improve their grammar, and ultimately help them become better people, hopefully.

I have gone through this process myself. What got me hooked was finding the right book. Being stuck at home during the pandemic was also a huge factor. Reading has now become one of my favourite past-times, especially after a tiring day at school.

I like to just sit down and read a book. It has become a part of my routine. I like to view reading as a way to improve.

As they say: “Reading is essential for those who seek to rise above the ordinary.”

To give the younger generation an avenue to express themselves, Twentytwo13 has a dedicated space called Young Voices. If you are a young writer (aged 17 and below) and would like to have your article published on our news website, send your contribution to editor@twentytwo13.my.

All articles must be accompanied by the young writer’s full name, MyKad number, contact number, and the mobile number of the young writer’s parents/guardians for verification purposes.

The views expressed here are the personal opinion of the writer and do not necessarily represent that of Twentytwo13.