Forcing books or anything else on kids (or adults) rarely works. Just think how you feel when someone tries to make you do something you don't particularly want to do. How often does that makes you want to do the said thing? Never! It probably makes you dread it even more. Kids are individuals with their own interests and feelings. You have to make them WANT to pick up a book by provoking their interest.
★ Read to them from an early age. Lay the foundation early. Here the rule "better late than never comes into play. You can start reading to your kids anytime. Try to make the reading animated and engaging. Enjoy the time spent together, and they will never forget it. Read the favorite ones over and over.
★ What are your child's interests? Video games? Dinosaurs? Big trucks? Sports? Luckily, there are good books that include all those and many more subjects in the storylines. Find books your child can relate to. Get excited about their hobbies and show excitement about books featuring the topic.
★ Does your child spend too much time watching TV or spending time on tablets, phones, or computers? Here, you have to lead by example. Children are little sponges and unknowingly copy their parents/friends/caregivers' behavior. Make a plan to limit TV and all electronics. Start small, maybe two nights a week. Not using any electronics after dinner and before bed can benefit everyone and promote better sleep. And if screen time is replaced by reading time, it will be a win-win for everyone. Another way to include books into allowed screen time is to create a tradition of reading the book then watching the movie.
★ Suggest creating a reading space for your kid. Who can resist a comfy Papasan chair with a cozy blanket? Let him pick the furniture or decoration. Get them excited!
★ Have books available. Preferably different kinds of books till you figure out your child's reading preferences.
★ Make the visits to the library a regular thing. Participate in their events and programs for maximum benefit. Even if kids are not interested in books at first, they will find some of the activities there entertaining. And getting to know and interact more with other kids who read might be all they need to spark their interest in books.
★ Use books to explain hard-to-grasp concepts like feelings and emotions or (un)expected changes like a new sibling or a new school. If kids can relate to the story, they will be more incline to read the book. There are books on virtually every subject – happy or sad. Make it a habit to explain major or everyday events with the help of books
★ Too old for picture books? Still pick books with a lot of illustrations. Pages of undisrupted long text might seem intimidating to a novice reader. Start with graphic novels or illustrated chapter books.