There’re so many parents who are finding it hard to get their children into reading. The children won’t just pick up a book not because they are struggling, but because they believe that reading is boring.
I can feel your pain as I had a similar child who just didn’t want to read. After trying all of the ideas I read about – reading to him to reading with him and also to getting into the habit of reading myself, all that was of interest to my child was to listen to me share stories.
Even though we started at a very early age, reading stories to him before his first birthday, weekly library visits before age 2, still he wasn’t that much interested in picking up a book at will to read.
Although I noticed he was always drawn to certain books and he will always go back to these books, even as young as age 3, he will always pick up a book with a picture of a football on it or a ball of any sort during our many trips to the library.
In as much as I had my eye on some other books, it didn’t matter the amount of cajoling, he would always want the football books so I had to give in. The lessons I learnt from this experience is this – to create a love for reading in a reluctant reader, start with the area of interest and let them read the same book over and over until you can find books that are similar to what they fancy.
This has worked for us and was the start to our success with reading. Another area of interest for us were funny books so we were always looking out for books with jokes and at a point I thought he was going to become a comedian.
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Here are some more ways to help move your reluctant reader to an avid reader.
Please note that this is a gradual process and will involve listening to your child and allowing them choose books that they’re drawn to:
Try Graphic books – These were the types of books my child gravitated towards when we started our journey of discovery about 10 years ago, now he is 13 and we are still very much interested in our football magazines, the sports sections in newspapers and books that document the biography of sports men and women. Please note that comics/graphic books are still categorised as books (stories told in a visual format), so let your children read these. It is better to read this than not to read at all.
Try Electronic books – Most of our children love technology and you can use this to develop a love for reading. Search for some good electronic books that your child can read on a kindle, ipad, a laptop or on a desktop computer. This will have to be monitored by an adult as it is not advisable to spend too long on screens.
Read books with movies – I remember when my son was preparing for his senior school common entrance exams and some of the text we encountered during his practice of comprehension in English were based on some classic movies, we watched the movies as well as read the books. This is another way to engage your reluctant reader. Encourage your child to read a book first then watch the movie and compare the two. This worked really well and my son was drawn to some other classic starter books. You never can know except you try.
Create a family friendly book club – This is really helpful as it not only will encourage your child to read, it will also develop better comprehension skills. Share reading a book with your child, you should split the book into parts where each family member is allocated a part to read. Then at an agreed time, very one comes together and shares what they have read. It doesn’t have to be a large group to be effective, it can work equally well between yourself and your child.
Read funny books together – Joke books are a very good one and your child will not stop reading. Agree that you will start reading and then your child will pick up from where you stopped and finish reading the book. This is a hit and miss, you will have to attempt a few times to get a book your child will like in order for them to get hooked on the story that they won’t want to stop reading the book.
Read the TV – another way to get your young child into loving to read is by watching a cartoon together without the sound and encouraging your child to read the captions on the TV screen.
As you would have noticed from all the tips shared above, it does take some effort from us as parent to help translate our reluctant reader into becoming a reader and enjoying the love for reading. I can assure you that it is not easy but worth every sacrifice as you begin to see your child start to pick up a book with little or no fuss.
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