In so many families, it’s the same story (no pun intended). One child loves to read and considers a trip to the library as good as going to Disneyland. Child number two is the exact opposite and can think of a hundred things they would rather do than pick up a book.
But, as parents, we know that being a proficient reader is essential to success in school and beyond. Children from infancy to preschool enjoy books and stories for entertainment and relaxation. Children entering school are learning to read from Kindergarten to grade 2. But then a significant change occurs at about 3rd grade. Children are no longer learning to read, but now they read to learn. If a child falls below grade level at this time, most other school subjects will suffer as well.
You may ask yourself, “How did this happen?” You’ve read stories at bedtime since the child was in diapers. Your home library contains a variety of books and you set aside reading time each day at home. And, many parents who are avid readers and model reading daily, just can’t understand why their child won’t reach for a book! Check this website to get some ideas of what to do.
Here are some tips that encourage reluctant readers and are great for households with voracious readers too!
Ages 0-2 Explore
Yes! Literacy begins this early in your child’s life. Children connect reading and writing with the first words they speak, and you cannot start too early.
At this age, the key is to provide books to explore. Babies and young toddlers may want to turn pages quickly, chew on books, pick them up, and place them in bins. Let them! Books with bright, simple pictures and few words will work with this age group. Lift the flap and peek-a-boo books are fabulous, as well as books with different textures to explore.
Ages 3-5 Discover
At this age, kids are learning to recognize rhyming words, letter sounds, alliteration, and blending letter sounds to make words. Books with rhyme and song foster success with these fundamental skills. Further, books with predictable text provide emergent readers with delight and confidence when they can “read” an entire story on their own
Ages 6-10 Cater to Preferences
At this age, kids begin to have strong preferences about what they want to read. Some kids can’t get enough of dinosaurs or fire trucks. Others may be completely obsessed with princesses or favorite cartoon characters. Use this passion to your advantage. Reading is everywhere, so look beyond words on a page. Steer your child to kid-friendly websites, comic books, and even board games. Also, download reading comprehension worksheet to have some bright and colorful pages for reading practice.
If you find yourself doing many of these tips to encourage your child and don’t see improvement, reading reluctance may be caused by something other than lack of motivation. A visit with your child’s teacher may provide insight and direction on what to do next. This includes ruling out physical issues that can hinder progress.
Keep encouraging your reluctant reader and your bookworms! Bringing a child into the world of reading and books is a gift that gives enjoyment and learning for a lifetime.