Aug 2020 1st edition

Make reading fun for children

It is the job of parents to help their children fall in love with reading.

Book vlogger Vuvu Vena says parents should make reading a fun family activity that they themselves participate in.

“Children naturally want to do what their parents are doing. This means that if they see a parent pick up a book, they will want to do the same,” she says.

The coronavirus lockdown can be used as an opportunity to get children into the culture of reading, says Vena. She says for that to happen, parents need to show their children that reading is a fun activity, rather than a chore.

Vena says that when children do something for fun, they are more receptive than when forced into an activity. “Parents should not force reading on children. They must do it with them as a fun activity, rather than have a set time for reading.”

Try and find stories that have meaning for your children, says author Khulekani Magubane. She says that historically, books focused on western superheroes. That needs to be changed, she says, explaining that parents should look for books about the African continent and its people.

“To get children reading, they must see themselves in the stories we tell. Historically, you found that superheroes were predominantly white men but now we can get children to read about characters that are relatable,” Magubane says.

He says his book The Sirius Squad: Earth’s Last Defence is an Afro sci-fi trilogy that aims to create superheroes that children can relate to.

Both Magubane and Vena say that children who read have an advantage over those who do not.

Vena says: “A child who reads is a curious child who becomes a better adult. Books allow children to create their own worlds and become imaginative.”

Magubane adds that books enable children to be big dreamers.

For parents to get their children interested in reading, Vena says they should:

  • Use oral storytelling
  • Read animatedly to children
  • Get age-appropriate books
  • Buy illustrated books on topics children are interested in
  • Lead by example.

“When reading to children, you must be animated. Be active and have the children join you in your actions when you read to them,” advises Vena. 

For more tips on how to get kids interested in reading, visit Vena’s online site:

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