When it comes to sitting down with a good book, some kids head in the opposite direction. Yet, with some guidance, positivity, and persistence, reading can become an enjoyable activity instead of a bothersome chore.
Strategies to get your child reading
1. Allow choices
Letting your child select a book based on their reading level and interests can motivate them to keep turning pages. Given a choice, they may begin to see reading as a way to discover and imagine. And if your child refuses to even look at a lengthy book, consider showing them options that appeal to their interests, such as comics, how-to-manuals, animal magazines, newspapers, picture books, or poetry.
2. Use electronics to your advantage
Reading doesn’t always have to be from a formal publication. Children that have access to smartphones, tablets, and computers may be making an effort to read without even realizing it. Incorporating some of these things every day can foster independent reading skills without much pressure.
Electronic reading content to consider:
● Email/text messages from relatives
● Computer gaming
● Literacy building websites/apps
3. Read together
Carving out time to read together - regardless of your child’s age - is time well spent. Not only does it model good reading habits, but it can create some of the best memories.
●Read to your child before bed
●Ask your child to read to you while traveling
●Use mealtimes to read aloud
●Cook together using a recipe
●Read directions for games, science experiments, or crafts
4. Make a trip to the library
Most local libraries host a variety of events for children of all ages. Signing your child up for a story hour or educational program can be one of the best ways to stumble on a good book. Even if the library event isn’t up your alley, you are bound to pass magazine racks and bookshelves that feature something that you can point out to your reluctant reader.
5. Create a reading space
Sometimes kids need the right atmosphere to pique their interest and allow themselves to relax into reading. Give your child a quiet space to explore their reading material without distraction. Don’t worry about making it extravagant. A designated reading spot could be as simple as a beanbag, cozy chair, or a blanket fort in their bedroom.
6. Find a reading buddy
Sometimes there’s nothing better than sharing and discussing a good book with a friend. If you don’t have access to a children’s book club, ask your child if they have a friend they would be comfortable reading with. You can arrange reading time over the phone or video conferencing. It’s also a great way to make both children commit to a reading selection.
7. Select a book with a movie
As parents, we often say the book is always better than the movie, but kids never really appreciate that until they see it for themselves. Reading a book with the promise of watching the movie at the end is great motivation. It’s also a lesson in literary elements as they learn the importance of plot, dialogue, and characters,
8. Discuss the highlights
While you don’t need to interrogate your child, asking them open-ended questions about their current book can guage comprehension. Make sure to ask questions that require more than one-word answers.
Questions you could ask:
●What’s happening in your book right now?
●What problem is the character facing?
●Who is your favorite character and why?
●What do you think will happen next?
9. Read it again… and again
If your child repeatedly reaches for the same book, there’s no harm in letting them reread it. Young children often ask for the same favorite stories because they enjoy the storyline or rhythm. Rereading stories is a good way to help little ones recognize keywords and learn how punctuation works. Older children may also reread texts and discover new details that they previously missed.
10. Gain a hobby
If your child has a certain interest, there’s likely a book or website that is teaming with information that they would benefit from. Whether it’s guitar, chess, or horses, find something that your child really enjoys and help them to learn more by providing resources.
11. Subscribe to their interests
Kids love getting mail. There are countless magazines and book clubs that you could subscribe to for your child. A subscription can give them something to look forward to and a reading goal to reach each month.
12. Be encouraging
There’s a fine line between being a nag and fostering a love for reading. However, your positive attitude can go a long way!
●Commend your child for small reading milestones. If your child starts with just flipping through a magazine, don’t discount progress.
●Be positive and give them space. Don’t hover over them while reading.
●Model good reading habits to show how it benefits you.
While these tips may not encourage every child to grab a book and read it through, they can slowly build the confidence needed to persevere and make reading more enjoyable in the long run.
This article was provided by LightSail for Homeschoolers’ team of experienced homeschool moms/writers. LightSail is an adaptive online language arts program for grades pre-K through 12. A foundation in the science of reading and writing combined with the experience of a team of home educators creates a family-friendly learning experience advancing skills in reading, writing, vocabulary, and fluency. LightSail provides tens of thousands of ChildSafe books and multimedia resources from leading publishers such as World Book and Lerner Publishing, including thousands of audiobooks in multiple formats: standard, text highlighting by word, and text highlighting by sentence.
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