It’s so important for children to develop a love for literature and reading when young. This love will expand into their adult years and will result in measurably higher success in life and academics. The advantages are well known, but what happens when your kid hates reading and books? Is reading a grueling task that they treat like punishment? It’s frustrating and difficult to deal with children who dislike reading, but following some easy tips can help to turn that around and create a literature lover out of a reluctant reader.
Focus on Interests
It’s possible that the books you’re encouraging your child to read, or those that they are assigned to read, are simply outside of their interests. You know better than anything the things your child enjoys and not every book has to be of strict academic interests. If they’re into a particular cartoon show, anime or video game, let them read about those subjects. They will then expand to other topics naturally.
Start Small and Build
Understand that just because you’ve found an interest, the child may not be up to reading an expansive text on that subject. Start by educating yourself on these interests and talk with your child about them. Get involved. This may mean playing the games they like or watching the shows they enjoy.
The more engaged you are with them, the easier it’ll be for you to eventually hand them a short book, magazine article or comic book on the topic. Then, gradually introduce more extensive texts.
Shared Reading Time
Shared reading time is all-important in converting a reluctant reader to an avid one. Your children look up to you and want to emulate you. If you read to them, and then later with them, they will be more likely to read on their own. As your child sees you reading, especially if it’s a topic that interests them, they’ll mimic your behavior. This can later turn into excitement and passion for the activity on their own.
Instruction and Patience
It’s possible that your reluctant reader is frustrated or embarrassed because they are actually having difficulty with the process. Reading aloud and having them read aloud can help with this. Teach them to sound out words. Work to build their skills and vocabulary by talking about difficult terms.
Create a comfortable and safe environment where your child doesn’t have to be embarrassed about their reading skills and you’ll find that gradually they become more adept and fluent at the process. As this happens they will get excited about their burgeoning abilities and work to explore them on their own. Any time your child has a question about a word or term, be ready to drop what you’re doing to help them and work towards the goal of literacy.
Of course, interactive reading experiences such as eBooks with sound, music and animation can be another great way to get kids involved. Why not take a look at one of our eBooks like The Old Woman in the Wood, and then explore the rest of the fun reading activities we have to offer?