5 Ways to Encourage Independent Reading

We all know the benefits of reading are endless. Our children “know” that just as well from us and their teachers. Reading is relaxing and enjoyable and makes us more compassionate humans. It is the process of shifting kids’ perception of reading that most parents and educators struggle with. Kids view it as yet another school assignment instead of an activity they can do independently for their wellbeing. Before gadgets and electronics took over, a book was a child’s go-to-companion when they wanted time alone or to a chance to get in touch with their imagination. I remember how I used to always the house with a book for the car ride or the bus ride to school. Reading using iPads and phones is just as beneficial, but there is a lot of competition in activities that can be done using technology today, such as chatting with friends and watching videos and social media. This gives reading a back seat and is mostly completed by kids today as part of their school work. Children need to be reminded of the beauty of getting lost in a great book, especially in our overly-hectic schedules nowadays.

Here are some tried and tested tips to boost independent reading in children:

  1. Suggest books you know they will enjoy: While it is important to introduce kids to a variety of genres so they can find out what they enjoy the most, independent learning happens when kids love the topic they are reading about and if they have background knowledge about it they will be more engaged. If your child loves dinosaurs, find as many books as you can about that subject and give them options. One day they will pick up a book on their own.
  2. Use a book gifting/reward system: Reward your kids with books. When you feel they need a motivational reward to complete something, use books as the reward. That way kids know just how important reading is and how valuable books are. Get into the habit of giving books as gifts on special occasions and asking for books as gifts as well. Make sure your kids are involved in the process of picking out the books so they get into the spirit.
  3. Download reading apps with a gamified experience: Every child learns in different ways and many children today prefer using audio books or reading books on their iPad. Regardless of the method, independent reading is the goal. Apps like “I Read Arabic” provide children with hundreds of award-winning books of all genres using a gamified experience that kids love. If you feel your child is struggling with picking up an actual book and reading, try downloading an app that will help them enjoy the reading process on their own.
  4. Establish a family or friends book exchange: We used to do these exchanges as kids and they were the highlight of our month. At the end of each month, children would finish one book they are reading and exchange it with another friend or neighbor or family member. Children end up finding out that they enjoy certain genres that they would not choose themselves. This exchange is beneficial in many ways as it teaches kids how to take care of their belongings and how to share willingly and instills a love of reading as a group.
  5. Model Reading: Our kids love copying our habits. If we are modeling independent reading at home, they will at least try it once or twice. If they never see us pick up a book and read, they will probably not try it on their own. An extra motivational method is reading out loud parts of your book and making general comments about how interesting the story is getting or how it makes you feel.

Most importantly, let your children tell you all about the books they read. Ask questions and be interested. Discuss their book with them and ask them questions that will help their comprehension. This will encourage them to read more books and share them with you. Try to keep books everywhere around the house to remind them of the importance of books in our lives and create a sense of motivation to pick up a book. It is truly a magical feeling to see your child pick up books on their own and curl up to read one without any strings attached.

 

I Read Arabic app is available on both Google Play and App Store

For more info please visit: https://app.ireadarabic.com

 

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