1. Read independently

Sitting and reading with your child is a good way to build strong habits of accountability. However, if you want your child to get into the habit of picking up a book and reading on their own, they need the opportunity to practice that. Have your child pick a comfy spot and a “just right” book that they are either familiar with or you know they can easily read. Continue with your day to day business, whether that’s cooking in the next room, doing your own work, cleaning, etc. Your child should be reading out loud, which builds fluency, and you should be within earshot. This keeps your child accountable and helps to build independency.

2. Consistency

Reading does not have to occur at the same time every day. But reading should occur every day. You can start small by planning to read on three days of the week for 15 minutes and increase from there. Your child should keep track of their reading with a log. This website offers free printable logs. It can be helpful to incentivize your child with a reward such as a small prize. As your child becomes more proficient, the prizes can come at the end of the week and be bigger for the accumulated time. The prizes don’t have to be book related, but should be something your child is excited about. That could be special one on one time with a parent, game time, or time with friends, for example.

3. Interest

Almost any adult can think back to their school days and remember a book they had to read for school that they thought was just awful! Reading something you’re not interested in is tedious and mundane. Young readers should be exposed to text that is exciting to them. If your child wants to read how-to’s, let them read how-to’s. If they want to read graphic novels, let them! Your goal with your reader should be to strengthen their ability to read. Once they’ve developed good consistent reading habits, then you can try introducing them to other kinds of text. But if you have a reluctant reader, you should definitely get them started with their interests. Head to your local library and spend some time perusing your child’s favorite subject. Also, your library network’s digital catalog can be super helpful as you can order books to be sent to your local library from other libraries.