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How to encourage reading habits in children (10y old or older)?

Reading is a habit and a preference that is acquired; however, for some children, it is not so attractive or they do not feel attracted to doing this activity, which seems to be getting more difficult over time, that is, with older children (10 years and above). Those who have already acquired the ability to read but they do not carry it out, don’t worry, this always has a solution, it can represent a challenge for both since it is about acquiring a new habit. It is a process, so it may require a little time, which will depend on each child, and you will surely be able to encourage reading in your child. Here are some points to consider to start this journey:

1. Inquire about experiences and thoughts.

As already mentioned, reading is an acquired hobby. Much of not enjoying an activity is due to our first encounters with it, the meaning we give it from our experiences. So the first thing we should do before entering the reading as such is a small talk interview with our daughter or son. You can also remember the way he reads, that is, the conditions that surround him, at what time it occurs, etc.

Here we will find a lot of information to change the particular environment of the child. It is necessary that the meaning be modified little by little, now from the new pleasant experience.

Examples: When he began to learn, his teacher showed him in front of the others and they made fun of him. Every time he goes to read or do homework, it is just after he is playing with his friends in the street, so he normally interrupts that activity because you ask him to and he goes to do the homework. When he is misbehaving or resting, I usually tell him to read something, that is, I use it as a punishment. The environment usually has a lot of noise and distractions such as television. His other siblings watch TV or play games while he or she reads. The room in which I ask him to read has very little light or he normally uses his bed to read, that is, there are more conditions for sleeping than for reading. He only reads scientific or school books.

All the previous aspects are about aspects that seem to be small but that together can cause the child to have a rejection of reading. So once you discover each aspect, ask him what he feels or thinks when this happens or happened. Little by little you can introduce this idea, that the reading is not the unpleasant one but it is about the environment, which has led him to believe all that.

2. Look for easy and short books.

We cannot conquer the largest mountain without having passed through other smaller ones. We have acquired some skills before and derived from it, we have learned from ourselves in the process. The same is with reading. Children can experience despair if they are presented with only scientific texts, with technical and purely educational language. If your wish is that they learn by reading, it is valid, but there are always alternatives.

There are stories or books that talk about many topics but that do not develop them theoretically, but are closer to reality, giving children the opportunity to analyze the situation rather than repeat the content or memorize it. Memorizing is not synonymous with learning, the idea is that you can give it a meaning, that you can explain it in your own words. Then you can use books that you think might please him, if he likes superheroes maybe it can be a comic, or if he likes animals, a book with images and text or curious facts. Feed their curiosity and imagination.

Give him spaces for rest, but don’t take them as a respite, but rather if you see that he is tired, ask him to go for something, or tell you what he thinks, take up a theme of the text and talk about it, it is not necessary that use the information in the text. The point is to keep your interest focused but give yourself a break. Preferably, we recommend that you do not start doing another activity such as video games, because being a taste that you have already acquired, you will compare them and obviously reading will seem like a punishment. You can also start with five-minute sessions and increase by a minute or a half a day. That way you won’t feel heavy.

3. Carry out a literary analysis activity.

An interesting way that the texts are not only forgotten or result in something of little significance is to break down everything they have to say or everything they provoked us. Analyze the psychology of the characters, the elements that allowed you to feel this or that emotion. Why do you think it was written? Also listening to someone else who thinks differently enriches the texts. They can do it together or create a group of children and parents. Acquaintances or those who may not know as much but who are interested in reading.

Reading can offer many worlds and unforgettable moments, that is why helping children acquire a preference for it is a worthwhile challenge and it is important that we enter this world with them, by setting an example and even better do it together. We hope this post will be very helpful.

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