Delve in to our tips designed to encourage the most reluctant of readers. They may even inspire any firmly established little book worms you have lurking around.
1. Firstly, DON’T PANIC
… or it could be like the whole ‘eat your veggies’ debacle all over again. You remember the one? The more you push, the more you talk about it the more your child will naturally recoil and reject. Kids are oh so good at that! This one calls for some subtle action. The aim is to inspire, ignite some natural interest and curiosity.
2. Lead by example.
How often does your child see you sit down to read a book / newspaper? Have one around, take it to the beach, the park, talk about it. Set up reading as just an everyday feature of life in your house. Once curiosity takes hold casually set up short reading afternoons. Cushions, snacks, a pile of tempting books, magazines and papers, all in a cosy room for the whole family to sit down and enjoy.
3. One word: library.
They are fabulous, they are free. Firstly, your child needs his or her own card. It’s amazing the sense of pride that ownership can create. Secondly, just let them loose amongst the book shelves. Head straight for the children’s section and if they want armfuls of books then go for it. If they need prompts just start pulling books out and discussing them, they’ll soon engage. Try not to edit their selections, this is about creating enthusiasm and igniting interest. (Although by all means slip in a few additional books of your own choice).
4. Author Events
… bookshops, libraries, book festivals. There’s nothing quite like clutching your own book, signed for you by the author you just met, to set you off on your reading journey. Book launches can be fab, some are becoming full events in their own right – snacks, drinks, activities and of course a special reading by the author.
Keep an eye on your local and not so local – because some are worth travelling for – bookshops and libraries to see what events they have planned. We’ve discovered artistic workshops by published illustrators, puppet shows based on books and book launches by some inspiring authors. All of them were memorable activities. Once you start looking you’ll be surprised at how many there are … and most are free!
… because all books are not equal and for your reluctant or eager reader it’s satisfying to find the really great books – the ones that will foster as sense of wonder, encourage imagination and inspire a lifelong reader. Visit sites such as My Book Corner (yes, ok, I’m a little biased) which only selects the best books, and invites its community to come back and share their own reviews. The Book Chook is also worth a visit, a website passionate about helping kids read, write and create.
Emma Perry is a freelance writer, reviewer and founder of the popular www.mybookcorner.com.au a children’s book review and price comparison website. A Melbourne dwelling book lover, she can be found buried under a mountain of books.