Getting kids to learn how to enjoy reading, can be quite stressful and frustrating for a parent. Here are some tips to utilize that seem to work well for those reluctant readers.
1. Get your child a library card. As soon as he is old enough, let him get his own card. It is very exciting for kids to have their own card and make their own choices in reading material.
2. Don’t frown on his choice of books or reading material. Let your child make the choice on what to read. It might not be the book you would have picked out. In fact, it might even be a comic book, the back of a cereal box or a bubble gum wrapper. As long as your child picks up something and begins to read, it doesn’t really matter.
3. Let your kids see you reading. Laugh aloud and show them what it is that you are laughing about. Open the book to that specific page or picture and point to the words and read them to your child. Say, “Books can really be funny!”
4. Set aside time for reading together. In the beginning, it might only be three times a week, then every other day and eventually move forward to each day. It almost always works best if you will take turns reading.
5. Ask questions about what he just read. Don’t do this with every page. Children know exactly what you are trying to do. Indeed, it works much better if you make a statement like, “Wait — I don’t understand why Jordan did not like the large red truck — do you?”
6. Encourage reading material on things he likes best. If your child loves Fairy Tales, shoot for that topic to begin. Alternatively, let them choose a wide variety of mixed topics, some of which you might was to roll your eyes — but just stay calm and smile.
7. Be Flexible: If you have a reading time scheduled and he just does not want to do it, go with the flow. It’s important to show your child that reading is fun and is not a chore, test or quiz. You can always catch up later.
8. Tape the session. Nothing is funnier as taping a reading session. Parents can get much farther with kids if they will let down their guard every once in a while and act silly. Play back the tape and your child will hear themselves reading and then hear your part where you acted silly. Maybe by changing your voice.
9. Share personal stories. When reading with your child, point out a similar instance in real life. For example, if a character in the book falls down and drops a glass of milk, you could say, “That happened to me when I was seven.” Or, “That’s just like the time when you fell down after tripping over the dog…remember.”
10. Read everything aloud. If you will read signs, instructions, even the weather forecast off the TV and etc., aloud, your child will hear words and make a connection. He will see and hear how words are powerful, fun and descriptive while building his vocabulary and enjoyment for reading.
Remember, don’t punish your child if they are not catching on to the joy of reading as quickly as you would like for them to — it’ll all work out as long as you stay calm.