How to get kids to read more in 2023

For avid bookworms, a new year means another 365 days of discovering new stories! But for other kids, reading is not at the top of their agenda. Here are some fun ways to help encourage your child to be a keen reader in 2023 and beyond.

A photo to two young boys laying down on a sofa and reading books together
Image: Getty / Jamie Grill

1. Show your love for reading

You want them to read more? First things first, you’ve got to walk the walk. Make sure there are books on display at home, read in front of them, and talk to them about the books that you like to read. Kids take cues from adults and if they see that you love books, it’s more likely that they will end up falling in love with reading.

2. Make a goal for the year

Avid bookworms will love the idea of a fun reading resolution and outdoing the number of books they read the year before. You can even help them create their own chart or reading log to fill in as they go along. If you have a more reluctant or less confident reader on your hands, aim for reading a few pages a day before working up to a set number of books. Reading is meant to be fun and not feel like extra work!

3. Re-read their favourite book

Reading more doesn’t have to mean a new book every time. Re-reading books helps improve reading accuracy, speed, and, ultimately, confidence. Plus, you can have so much fun with it! Take turns reading out different characters' lines, use funny voices or even act the book out together.

An image of five of the top books for under 5s on top of a bright red background
Image: Gareth Baker/Substance Global

4. Choose books that involve their interests

This is an obvious one but choose books that they’re interested in. Giving your child nothing but poetry books when they love graphic novels will discourage them. And if all they end up reading over the course of the year are books about pirates or unicorns, that’s ok! Book series are another great way to get kids reading more if they like a particular author’s writing style or characters.

5. Always bring a book with you

Whether it’s on a drive to visit their grandparents or to a dentist appointment where you know you’ll have to wait, bring a book with you everywhere. It’s not only a great way to keep children occupied but it will show them that you can always fit in some time to read.

6. Try audiobooks

Is your child an auditory learner? Then audiobooks are a brilliant alternative for kids who may struggle to focus on a physical book. And yes, audiobooks do count as reading! Plus, hearing someone read confidently will improve children’s own fluency and intonation.

An image of five of the top books for 6-8s on top of a bright yellow background
Image: Gareth Baker/Substance Global

7. Read the book then watch the film or TV series

Another great way to encourage kids who potentially favour streaming over reading; read the book and then watch the film or TV adaptation of it. You can host a family film night and then discuss what you liked best about the book and the film after.

8. Read books at the right level

All children develop at different paces and the same goes for reading. Choosing books by age is a good starting point but it all depends on your child’s own reading ability. If a book is too hard their enthusiasm will wane, and this can be especially demotivating for children with dyslexia or other learning difficulties. And as we’ve said before – reading is meant to be fun, not a chore. When hunting for new books at the library or in a bookshop, ask them to read a few pages to you and go from there.

9. Take them to a library

Visit your local library and make it into an adventure! As well as being filled with books and kind librarians to give you all the best recommendations, libraries often host their own events and storytime sessions. So, even if you’re not there to borrow a book, kids will associate the library with fun. And don’t forget to get them a library card so they can be in charge of their own reading experience.

An image of five of the top books for 9-12s on top of a bright blue background
Image: Gareth Baker/Substance Global

10. Read recipe books

If your little one is more of an aspiring Mary Berry than a Matilda, choose a recipe book and have them read out the ingredients and instructions to you whilst you bake or cook together. This is a great way to improve their comprehension and vocabulary. And if you want to bolster their writing skills, have them write out their own menus or invent some new recipes.

11. Start a book club with their friends or find a buddy reader

For kids who are still hesitant when it comes to reading, forming a book club with their friends, or pairing up with a reading buddy might be just what they need. They can take turns choosing books, reading chapters to each other, and hosting their meet-ups. Snacks will be provided by you, of course.

12. Treat books as a gift

Encourage friends and family to gift your child books on their birthday and at other celebrations and will show children that books are special. And when it comes to their friends' and family members’ birthdays, they can gift them a book back with a note inside on why they have chosen this story for them. Gifting books is a lovely way for them to connect with others.

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