Reading is Magic! For most of us that is; but not for some of the reluctant readers I’ve met.
Parents: What does it mean when you have to beg your child to sit down and read? If you’re like a lot of parents I hear from, it’s upsetting when they see other children who want to read anything they can get their hands on, but never see their own child doing the same. How does a parent react to a child who hates to read? How do you motivate a child to read? Here are a few, simple steps to help a child who is unwilling to read toward a book-filled future:
Find Out What Interests Your Child: Think about what interests or excites your child. Knowing what interests him/her can help you identify what types of books they may enjoy reading.
Start Small. Start with a topic your child may already enjoy, and that you can help them learn about. Perhaps your child has mentioned BMX bike racing, and thought they might like to learn more about it. Remember, just because your child has an interest in BMX bike racing doesn’t mean they need to start reading the A-Z History of BMX Bike Racing – that could be a little daunting—especially for a child who is reluctant to read anyway.
Instead, consider watching a BMX bike race with your child. Do some advance research and find out who the star racer is. Talk about how that particular rider stacks up against the other riders, get excited about him, and get your child to help cheer him on. When they win, your child will feel like they won, too. The next day, get on YouTube and see if there is a video of the biking hero, and watch it with your child. Then, research the Internet to find a short article about BMX bike racing, or a related topic, like BMX bike racing stars Garrett Reynolds, and Stevie Churchill, which can also be an engaging and interesting bridge toward books for reluctant readers.
If the topic of interest doesn’t lend itself to watching a related program or movie, start small by finding a magazine article, or a children’s book at the library that relates to the subject. And remember that reading for fun doesn’t necessarily need to begin with a chapter book. There are many other book variations that can be worthwhile for these reluctant readers.
Practice Shared Reading. Shared reading is an overlooked technique for engaging reluctant readers. And, shared reading is fun. If you are not familiar with shared reading, it entails taking turns reading pages, sections or chapters with your child. This gives you the chance to perform in front of your child, articulate the words, expound on sentences or noises the characters make, and lets your child hear how you emphasize the words on the page you read. With practice, your child will emulate you when it’s their turn to read.
Part of the “sharing” in shared reading involves talking about the book you are reading with your child. For the ideal shared reading experience, choose books that are engaging, and will be sure to lead to discussion. Choose a book your child can easily follow along with.
Small Successes Can Lead to Huge Successes! Imagine your child bringing you a book and asking to read it to you by themselves. Isn’t that worth the half hour of your time spent every night having quality time reading with your child? (Shared reading can vary depending on your child’s age and needs.)
Kids Over 7 Years Old: Most young kids learning to read will get a lot out of shared reading, but once children reach seven or eight years old, they may not view reading together as an option. So parents must look past what they know, and dive into the world of the unknown to find a way to articulate the art of reading with your reluctant reader.
Starting a book club is an excellent place where parents can share great new book reading ideas, as well as discuss new books for shared reading in a welcoming environment. If book groups are not an option, find a reliable, child-safe website like mine, www.kidsmysterybooks.com/book-reviews where your child can post a review of any book they read, or perhaps encourage him or her to start a book review journal of their own.
Reluctant readers are often struggling readers, so creating safe, comfortable environments where fluent reading is modeled, and where children are set up for success is key. Though there is definitely not an easy answer, with a little focus and direction, you can help give your child the reading boost they need. It’s not magic, but every little step helps.
Posted In: Kid's Mystery Books