What to Do When Your Child Doesn’t Like to Read

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Nursery Stories with pictures computer together

African American Family Using Tablet ComputerEveryone has been to the bookstore or library at one time or another. When remembering the time you spent browsing, what was it that made you stop and pick up a book to look through?
It is not that reading is something most people prefer not to do, it is what they want to read that is the issue. With children, you need to consider they have limited reading skills and the number of books that they will be interested in is much smaller.
To help a child along the way to reading more, the first step is to discover what their interests are. Among the likely candidates are sports and sports figures, fantasy lands, and animal stories. There are the classic books such as Cinderella, The Ugly Ducking, and Little Red Riding Hood which have been children’s favorites for decades.
Next, you can make it a group activity rather than having them read alone. It only requires one other person so they can read to someone rather to themselves. This method also gives them a security blanket of sorts if they run into words they do not know or cannot understand. Remember that the whole point of reading is comprehension, not simply reciting words.
In addition, you can be a direct influence in your child’s life by reading yourself. Children are great imitators of behavior, and even though they may not curl up next to you and read, when they see you reading consistently they will wonder why. You might say something such as, “I’m going to sit down and read for a while” to show them that you are interested in reading and it is important for them to know that.
A little thing but an important one is putting a paper book in their hands. More than a few people prefer to do their reading on a tablet or eReader. Placing something tangible (and unbreakable) into your child’s hands will give them “possession” of the book. This shows them that not only is the book theirs (if only for a while) but the story in the book is theirs. Both are true, though trying to explain the latter of these to them will likely not go over too well.
One thing that cannot be avoided is the competition with technology. To children who are surrounded by one type of display screen or another, the idea of everything that is important is visual, reading comes in a distant second place. The truth is, we struggle with this reality ourselves.
Encouraging your child to read may require some lifestyle changes on your part. Nothing has to be drastic, but giving up watching television or checking on your Facebook page for an hour a day is not unreasonable to ask. You’ll be surprised how quickly your kid picks up reading after you make these changes.