I have 2 kids who absolutely LOVE to read. In fact, if you were to visit our house, you would hear at times (I’m sorry to admit), the following words coming out of my mouth, “Put the book down. It’s time to find something else to do”. Yes. I know. Most of us are begging our kids to read, but in my case, I have to ask them NOT to read at times.
At least that’s true of my first two kids. My third child, however, HATES to read. “It’s boring. It’s hard. It’s a waste of time. It’s confusing. I don’t like the stories. There’s not enough pictures.” He has plenty of reasons why he hates it. I feel like I’ve tried so many things. I’ve gotten comic books, adventure books, story books, picture books, choose-your-own adventure books, and more. Still, nothing inspires him.
I read with him. I read to him. I take turns. Still, nothing. He’ll do it and he’s improving, but it’s certainly a chore and not a passion.
Today I was sorting through my piles of papers to read through. Apparently an important paper from back to school night had slipped my attention. I wish I had noticed it earlier. It would have solved a lot of my reading nightmares as school has gotten started. In case you, too, have found yourself begging your little one to read as the school year has gotten going, I thought I’d pass on some tidbits to help turn your kid into a reader. If you’re like me, you’ll see some of them just may be the opposite of what you are doing right now.
Oh, and one more thing. I have to give credit where credit is due. I believe the flyer I got pulled most if not all of the ideas from the website kidstoreaders.com. Check it out for more details and info!
Trick #1: Make it Easy-No distractions!
- Take the TV out of your child’s bedroom, but don’t connect it to reading.
- Never connect anything negative to a behavior you want to encourage!
Trick #2: Help your Child love to read!
Offer a Good Choice versus a Bad Choice at a point of boredom.
- Staying up and reading with you versus going to bed with lights out.
- Snuggling up to read with you versus doing a job right now he/she doesn’t like.
Trick #3: You are the treat!
- Let your child choose if they want to read or have you read to them.
- If your child chooses to read, let them know you are willing to read at any point.
- Sit side by side so your child can snuggle up!
- Sitting side by side also helps your child track the print.
- Use a bookmark to track the print so it is easy for your child to follow along, if they choose to.
Trick #4: Stop at a cliffhanger!
- Whet their appetite…stop before your child wants to.
- Offer the choice of staying up to read on his/her own.
Trick #5: Place books in strategic points of boredom!
- Make it easy for your child to read: in the bathroom, in the car, eating breakfast, in the bedroom.
- Get the books off the shelves!
Trick #6: They’ll do what you do!
- Model your own love of reading (or at least fake it!)
- Brag about your child’s reading.
- For the dad: “That boy wants to be like you, and if you don’t read he won’t read and it’s that simple”.
Currently, we have reading time and we read “whether he likes it or not”. Oops. I guess I’ve failed at the “Help Your Child Love to Read” and “I am the Treat” tricks. I’m more like the mean old reading police and have succeeded at helping my child hate it.
So, the only way is up. I can’t wait until he gets home to start trying it. In the meantime, I hope it helps you turn your little one into an avid, or at least happy, reader.
UPDATE: I’m so excited! That picture at the beginning of the post? It just caught it when he wasn’t looking. That’s the same kid that hating reading a month ago, but more and more, lately, I find him reading on the couch. Just this week he read three entire Magic Treehouse books! I guess it works.