Why do some children take to reading with a natural passion, whereas others struggle?
Some children appear to love reading. Others don’t. What changes? Very young children will often enjoy being read to by an adult. As they grow, they start to learn to read for themselves and they can find this difficult and complicated. The learning to read process can actually put some children off reading. This may be a permanent thing or it can be temporary.

How do you train and motivate a child to be more interested in reading?
The Right Way - sometimes it is simply a case of encouraging the child in the right way. We often hear that children should read particular books for school, or their education - and therein lies the problem. If a child associates reading with schoolwork they may begin to resent it. It is no longer thought of as a pleasurable experience.

It is important for adults to encourage children to read. Children should be encouraged to read what they are interested in, not what the adults think they should be interested in.

Obviously adults need to be careful what a child reads, but as much as possible they should encourage them to read - whatever it is, so that the child learns the basics of reading and develops a love of reading.

Keeping Them Motivated
When children are learning to read, parents do most of the reading to them.
However, once young children have learnt to read, parents can keep them motivated by encouraging those children to read aloud. It doesn’t need to be all the time, just some of the time. This way, parents can continue to involve their children in a shared experience. It also gives them confidence and helps them to carry on improving their reading and vocal skills. Using exclamations of enthusiasm, surprise and intrigue will also foster enjoyment and participation in children.

Use of Rewards
When it comes to encouraging appropriate behaviour, many adults use rewards to shape children’s responses.
The same principles can be applied to reading. In order to do this well, without dissuading the child from reading or making them feel manipulated, rewards should be meaningful and understood by the child.

One way to do this is through a star system. The child is awarded with a gold or silver star for completing a book. The star is affixed to a chart and displayed somewhere where it is clearly visible. Once the child has accumulated a certain amount of stars these can be exchanged for a reward of some sort
(perhaps even the next book in a series they have been enjoying reading!).

There is more information on encouraging children to read in our “Writing for Children” ebook.