If you really want to motivate your kid to read, then send them to stuffed animal sleepovers at the library.
A new study published in the journal Heliyon showed that stuffed animal sleepover programs can help motivate kids to read, even months later.
These programs are where kids take their beloved animals to the library for a sleepover. Their stuffed animals will “select” books for the kids to read.
Researchers from Okayama University, Kanazawa University, Osaka Institute of Technology and Kyushu University in Japan found that these programs do really encourage kids to read books their stuffed animals chose from them in the sleepovers.
The study involved 42 preschool children.
The researchers took photos of the kids with their stuffed animals reading together during the sleepovers. They also gave the books their animals chose to the kids.
The research team analyzed the behavior of the kids during the sleepover, three days after, and one month after the sleepover.
Unexpected Finding: Kids Became Active Readers
One interesting and unexpected finding was that the kids started reading their picture books to their stuffed animals. This form of spontaneous, self-directed reading helps the children develop into more active readers.
Immediately after the sleepover, the number of children who read to the stuffed animals was significantly higher than the number who did not, but after three days the effect had worn off.
However, after three months, they reminded the children of the sleepover by showing them the photos of the sleepover again. This simple method led to a significant increase in the number of children reading to their stuffed animals.
“The photographs captured the children’s imagination — many children believed the stuffed animals really found the books,” said the researchers.
This is the first scientific evidence that these stuffed animal sleepover programs really can motivate kids to read.
So if you have young kids, why not let them participate in stuffed animal sleepover programs? Being an active, good reader is a cherished skill they will benefit from for the rest of their lives.
Yoshihiro S. Okazaki, Atsushi Asakawa, Kentaro Ishii, Yuki Yamada. The stuffed animal sleepover: enhancement of reading and the duration of the effect. Heliyon, 2017; 3 (2): http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.heliyon.2017.e00252