How to encourage your kids to fall in love with reading
There is one activity kids can do, no matter the situation, one that's cheap, quiet and stimulating: reading a great book.
While most parts of Australia have returned to some sense of normal, the arrival of the new COVID variant Omicron is no doubt elevating stress levels across the community. Once again, young people may find themselves limited in some of the activities they can do.
Reading could be one way to keep the boredom at bay. I have been an avid reader all my life and I believe young people can get many benefits from reading a good book.
I've enjoyed reading from a very young age, when I'd tuck myself away in a quiet place and read for hours on end. And reading is something that doesn't disturb anyone.
A good book can take kids away from the frustrations of their current situation and give them a lot of joy at the same time.
When kids get lost in a book, they lose sense of time and reality which is good for stress relief. And this is true regardless of your age.
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Why is a love of reading so important?
When you're reading, you're imagining the story unfolding in your mind, with your own images of the characters, the setting and everything else that is happening.
And unlike a TV show or a movie, everyone has their own unique view of what is happening in the book. They are seeing their own version of the story and you can literally feel transported, as though you are there and experiencing the story through the eyes of the characters.
In my stories, you're transported to a fantasy land of knights, princesses, wizards and magic. You are in a totally different place, and you see, experience and feel what Dane and the other characters are going through.
With restrictions from COVID putting limits on what you could do, there are no limits or constraints when it comes to reading.
Unlike gaming consoles, computer screens and smartphones, reading stimulates all of your senses.
Books have helped many people get through difficult stages of their life, and now is a time we should be relying on them again.
Not only is there a benefit of reading from an individual point of view, it's also something you can do as a family. Here are a few suggestions that families can be doing together to encourage reading.
1. Read books as a family
Find some great family-friendly fantasy adventure books and set aside some time every few days as a family to read a few chapters out loud. Ideally set a routine and keep to it. The Harry Potter series is a great one to start with, as it's a fan favourite of both kids and adults, and it sparks the imagination with "magical" storylines.
Doing something like this not only brings the family together, it provides a wonderful environment of support and comfort for kids.
Add a drink and a biscuit and make it more special. This will not only give the kids something to look forward to, it will make it extra fun as well.
2. Select books together and review them
These days books come in different forms, with hard copy and kindle versions available. Take the time to find books together on a device or in the library, and then discuss them as a family to decide on which book to read next.
This process makes the whole journey of reading much more fun and exciting when everyone is involved.
Take the time to review and talk about the books together too. This allows everyone to share their thoughts and feedback, so they feel like they are being listened to, and helps parents understand what types of books might suit their kids moving forward.
In talking about the books, families can discuss not only the overall story, but also some of the situations and problems the characters deal with. In my books, although they are set in a different time and place, Dane and the other characters experience some of the same situations and problems that are common in today's world, which encourages further conversation and thinking.
3. Share the reading responsibilities
Sharing the reading gives everyone the opportunity to feel part of it.
It also helps kids to develop their reading, comprehension and communication skills. Kids may not need to take on the same amount of reading as parents, but even if they do some of it, it makes them feel like they're part of the process.
4. Encourage them to create their own stories
In addition to reading, why not encourage kids to write their own story and read it to the family?
As an accountant by day, I never thought I'd end up becoming an author of fantasy fiction novels about a brave knight called Dane Thorburn and his exciting escapades – but here I am! With a little time and creativity, you'd be surprised what you can do!
How to get started
To get started, think of an idea and write whatever comes into your mind, or maybe write about your last holiday or a hobby you enjoy. It doesn't have to take long and it doesn't have to be lengthy, a few sentences will get you started. Just have fun and see what you can do.
With my Dane Thorburn stories, they each started from a simple idea. Then I thought about it for a while, and then it was a matter of putting my thoughts on paper and letting the story take shape from there.
While I'm not suggesting to go so far as to write a whole book, if you write about something you're interested in, you'd be surprised how much you can write.
All in all, reading is a great way to pass time in a way that can bring enjoyment for the whole family.
Aussie author Matt Galanos is the writer of the Dane Thorburn fantasy series. Matt has been an avid reader from a young age, with a particular fondness for fantasy fiction and fast-paced adventure stories.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article (which may be subject to change without notice) are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Finder and its employees. The information contained in this article is not intended to be and does not constitute financial advice, investment advice, trading advice or any other advice or recommendation of any sort. Neither the author nor Finder has taken into account your personal circumstances. You should seek professional advice before making any further decisions based on this information.
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