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With so much technology and entertainment-focused toys and gadgets available for children, it’s no wonder that fewer children are reading than ever before.

After all, there are far more exciting and interesting things to play with than books. But for any child, the chance to use their imagination – and genuinely enjoy reading – is vital to their success later in life. Children must read for just 15 minutes or more per day as this could put them at a massive advantage over their peers who don’t take that time.

So we know that children that read are more successful and that reading is a vital skill for any student. But there’s a difference between encouraging students to read in class and inspiring a love for reading in children. While one is vital for their academic success, the other is far more important. Being able to love reading is truly something all children should have the gift of. For young children, the benefits of reading to them before they are school-age are plentiful, including:

  • Setting them up for success in education, with various studies proving that toddlers that read have significant advances over those that don’t
  • Providing them with a broader vocabulary
  • Helping them to develop better cognitive functions, including the ability to focus and concentrate
  • Providing them with conduits for creativity and imagination

But it’s certainly not too late for children that reach school age without much interaction with books or a love of reading. Here are just a few ways you can transform the way your students think about reading and encourage them to pick up a book just for the fun of it:

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Make stories a daily part of classroom life

It may seem obvious, but the simple act of reading in class every day can make a world of difference to students. This is especially true when diverse, vibrant, and exciting stories and texts are used to capture the class’s interest. When children listen to adults reading aloud, they gain access to the template for new words, new vocabulary, and the fluency required to read and tell stories properly. Even for very young children, storytime can introduce the joy of books into their lives for good. Allowing each student to pick a book per day is an excellent way to make this exercise interactive and allows all children to get involved in the reading process.

Encourage thinking beyond the text

Any good teacher will tell you that it’s not the reading that’s the problem. The comprehension of the story makes a real difference when it comes to children enjoying reading. Encouraging your class to ask and answer questions about stories, from who the main character is to how the story makes them feel, can provide that extra layer of engagement. Reading shouldn’t be a passive activity, and by immersing your students in the world of each book, they can gain a deeper understanding and level of enjoyment. Acting out a small part of a story is one way to make stories more interactive, allowing children to enter the world of the stories they enjoy.

Invite the sharing of excitement and information

We like to share that joy with others with any subject or topic we enjoy. Whether it’s music, a movie, or a game, sharing our love of something is another excellent way to help students learn to love reading. Whether talking with their peers about their favorite part of a story or writing down the best part of a book, asking a child to relive their most-loved parts can be an excellent way for reading to become fun. A classroom campfire, where children swap stories they have read in short sentences, is a unique way to involve all students. It’s also the ideal way to encourage the swapping and reading of other stories based on the enjoyment of their friends or peers.

For children, reading doesn’t have to be a chore. Encouraging the joy children to have when it comes to appealing and fantastical stories is all about taking a little more time to introduce stories into your curriculum. How do you get your students to love reading?