Educators tell us that one of the most important things we can do, in our efforts to improve our kids’ prospects for educational success, is to develop a reading culture in them. That, in other words, is all about getting the kids to love reading: so that they can read even when they don’t have to. What happens, when kids develop such an innate love for reading, is that they tend to fare better in their studies. They also tend to fare better in life after school. The challenge, of course, is in how to (practically) develop a reading culture in kids.
A very basic thing that you can do, when seeking to develop a reading culture in kids, is to simply explain to them the benefits of reading – the benefits of being a well-read person. You need to explain this in a language that the kids can understand. And you need to repeat your message often enough, until it actually gets into the heads of the kids and until it actually sticks there. You can point out that, for instance, well read people are often in a better situation to identify the opportunities around them, and to take advantage of them. Even in the worst circumstances, a well read person, for instance, will have an easier time when, say, making a food stamp application in the state of Georgia (something that nowadays is best done online, on the Georgia Compass website. A well read person is, better still, in a good position to identify job openings, or to leverage on his or knowledge that is acquired through reading to figure out which industries are likely to be hiring soon.
Another basic thing that you can do, to develop a reading culture in kids, is to avail to them appropriate reading materials. These need to be reading materials that are actually enjoyable to the kids. The mistake we make is that of presenting kids with challenging reading materials before they are ready for them. Don’t make that mistake: instead, provide kids with age-appropriate reading materials – the sorts of reading materials that satisfy their curiosity at their respective ages.
You can go to yet another level, when seeking to develop a reading culture in kids, and ensure that you serve as a role model to them. If the kids notice that you love reading, and that you are always reading something, they are inclined to start imitating you: a process that culminates in them developing a genuine love for reading.