How to Encourage Reading in Childhood {Discussion}

I am sure most of us reading this are readers, and I love books, but this is not universal which is kinda sad.
gromet reading

The advantages of reading for pleasure

There are many different advantages of being an avid reader as a child and into adulthood they are:

  • a better vocabulary
  • a correlation between childhood reading for pleasure and academic success
  • the ability see the perspective of others, as this is a skill frequently practiced whilst reading fiction.
  • reading improves your memory
  • it improves our ability to focus on just one thing, which is essential in today’s world which is full of distractions.
  • it also can help you sleep (but not if reading on back-lit screens)

When I was young there wasn’t such a thing as YA books and the selection of books giphy-cat readingaimed at older children was either a bit crap or very outdated (think swallows and amazons etc), although I loved them.  But this did mean that whilst I was a teenager, I didn’t read much except what I was set for English class.  Then I discoverer trash in in the form of Jilly Cooper and Jackie Collins and their almost soft porn romances, Somehow this got me back into reading again.  Now there is are plethora of books aimed at every age group and I have an 8 year old who enjoys reading, and loves being read too even more and I just wanted to have a discussion about the best ways of encouraging kids and young people to love literature in all its forms.

How to grow a reader

Most of the usual advice with encouraging reading I think I am already doing:

  • Have lots of books and other reading materials in the house for both adults and children.  (check)
  • Read yourself and be visible whilst doing it (check but only me, not her Dad)
  • Read to the child frequently and don’t stop doing it once she is able to read herself.(check)
  • Let the child choose her own reading material (check, she has reread some books to death almost)

but this raises a few questions in my head:

Should we influence their choice of books, and if so how?

Should we be censoring our kids and pointing them towards more worthy books, or is it great that they love reading what is fun.  My daughter at the moment loves horrid Henry books and I have a feeling that its because of an almost voyeuristic pleasure with somebody else doing things that she knows that she can’t get away with.  On the other hand she tried reading the Game of Thrones book, as I wouldn’t let her watch the TV Series (she’s only 8) and she read the fist page then got bored. Which brings me onto the next question.

Can Kids Self Censor subjects in books that they aren’t ready for?

As a teenager I had a theory that children, myself included could read whatever they wanted, and if the subject matter was either too adult, either on a sexual or violence level the child would either not understand it, or stop reading or skip over the troubling section, or they will find it boring and stop reading.

Matilda reading

As Matilda says in her Roald Dahl book:

“Mr Hemingway ways a lot of things I don’t understand” Matilda said to her. “Especially about men and women. But I loved it all the same.

On the other hand, I have recently read Neil Gaiman talking in his book of essays, The view from the cheap seats, that he encouraged his daughter after she enjoyed the Goosebumps books to read Carrie by Stephen King, the result of which, she was put off books with anything even remotely scary,  until adulthood.

So what do you think?

How did you develop a love of reading, either in childhood or as a teenager?

What book recommendations do you have for a 8 year old to either read to herself or for me to read allowed at bedtime (we have read the entire Harry Potter already)?

And of course any answers you might have to the other questions on letting children choose their own material and self censorship.



16 thoughts on “How to Encourage Reading in Childhood {Discussion}

Add yours

  1. My step daughter was the only child I’ve ever heard of who hated to be read to. She’d scream and get violent if you tried to read to her. So weird. Finally as a teenager she’s starting to read books on her own.


  2. Everyone should read, but sadly it’s something that’s becoming more outdated and not common by the month and year, and that’s slightly saddening to think about.


      1. Agreed. Books and movies in a way are like a power couple. Sometimes, if you there’s a series in which there’s a book and a movie, you might just have to read the book first and then move onto the movie, which in a way influence people to watch the movie.


  3. Hmm, this is a really interesting discussion! I know when I was three or four, my mom read to me and that really developed my love of reading.

    But about censorship — I was reading Divergent (which has sexual content) at the age of eleven. I mean, I’d watched the movie with my mom on the airplane, so I thought I was fine reading the book.

    In sixth grade (age twelve) I started getting into more YA. My mom really didn’t care about what books I read until one day she picked up a book I was reading and saw some things about “whore houses”… She didn’t say much but “How far are you into this book?” (That part was at the beginning.)

    I personally don’t think parents should censor what content their children can read. Sooner or later they’re going to read about it, right? But that’s only at an older age — I think when they’re like seven you don’t want them read violent content. But as they get older, their knowledge grows and it’s up to them to decide what’s good for them.


  4. Oh how I love this post! I think everyone can weigh in on this… my mom always let us stay up to read one book before bed … so even my brothers who weren’t readers at the time LOVE books and reading as adults. It also cultivates creativity and imagination great skills for the work place!


  5. I have actually never loved reading, it puts me to sleep! Lol Saying that, we are raising book loving children. We go to library sales and have them pick out books, we use library based learning so we are at the library at least twice a month and we read to and with them. They all love story time at night and in school when we have reading time. I have been reading more and more as I want be a good example as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. You really make it appear so easy together with your presentation however I find this matter to be really something that I feel I might never understand. It kind of feels too complicated and very large for me. I’m looking forward for your subsequent submit, I will try to get the grasp of it!


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