You want to encourage your children to read more. But how? The trick is in making it an enjoyable experience. Follow our tips and ideas for raising young readers, and your children are guaranteed to grow into a love of reading.

As readers ourselves, we want our children to experience the same joy and growth when picking up books as we do – a love of reading that comes naturally and inspires them to take to the pages of their own accord. Cultivating a lifetime reading habit is easier than you might think, and while it begins at the very earliest stages of parenthood, it’s something that you can start working towards with children of any age. Read our top 6 ways to encourage kids to read below.

Start reading with them early

They say it’s never too early to start reading to your children, and we couldn’t agree more! Reading books together not only results in precious quality time spent together from an early age – cuddling before bed, your child on your lap – but it also piques their interest in turning the pages, finding meaning in the lines, and associating reading with a fun and enjoyable experience. It’s also never too late to start – even kids capable of reading on their own love the weight of work taken off their shoulders and losing themselves in the stories.

Model the reading behaviour

Children do as their parents do – what they see modelled every day by their grown-ups is what they will grow up to do themselves. You can keep telling your child to read, but if you’re not modelling the reading love, they likely won’t pick up books on their own. As a parent, make sure your child sees you reading – then take it a step further, and point out things in real life that remind you of a story. This will create a tangible link between fiction and real life and inspire your children to turn to stories too.

Make reading a family affair

The best way to make sure your kids see you reading is by doing it together! Once they’re able to read on their own, set aside a time in the day for family reading fun. Cosy up with your children on the couch, each reading their own book – once again, this reinforces the positive experience, and setting aside a specific time is a great way to encourage structured reading.

Take kids to the library

We’ll never stop gushing about how wonderful libraries are. Filled not only with books but also with activities related to reading, it’s the perfect spot to make words a consistent part of your children’s lives. Make regular visits to your local library – getting their own library card is also a great way to introduce them to independence.

Start your own parent-child book club

If you don’t have any such book clubs to join in your area, start your own! All you need is another couple of families on board, a book pick each month (or at whatever time interval you choose), and you’ve got yourself a way of making reading a social activity that promotes critical thinking and discussion. It’s an absolute win-win!

If all else fails – use bribes!

We mean this in the most positive way of course – make it fun! Whether you offer $10 for each book read, or something else they want, your kids will be more likely to stick to it. You can even make it a novel experience – author Pip Williams got her sons to read certain books in exchange for playing their favourite video games with them. Once again, this not only makes reading fun, but the payoff is worth it for both parties – a definite success.

Make sure you check out the many wonderful children’s literary programmes on offer at Storyfest, and take your child’s love of words to the next level.