Teaching a child to love reading expands their horizons, improves their learning skills and creates an ongoing hunger for more. At some point, however, your child may have to read aloud in public, whether it be in the classroom or at a function, and many kids freeze up in these situations. In some cases, stage fright related to reading even expands into a disdain for school in general. Correcting this problem just requires patience and a little work. Here are some guidelines for helping your child learn to read out loud.
If your child knows the text they will have to read in advance, practice with them at home. Talk to the school about obtaining a copy of the text, if you do not already have one. If the school doesn’t have spares, ask where you can get one of your own. Have them read the book to you, and read it in front of the mirror.
If the time frame is too brief to obtain that book, choose another, similar book and have your child practice reading it to you. Have them call up some friends to whom they can read the book. Record the readings and let the child listen to the recording. This will get them used to hearing their own voice.
Work on the Difficulties
Difficult words and the fear of stumbling are one thing that builds trepidation and stage fright in kids. As you work through the text with your child, have them mark the difficult words they encounter. Transfer those words to flash cards and put the cards aside.
Between readings, after meals or during quiet times, pull out the flash cards and have the child work on pronouncing those difficult words. When they get it right the first time, put a gold star on the card. When all the cards have gold stars, reward the child with something special, like a trip out for ice cream.
When your child has gotten adept at reading aloud in the home, and has mastered the difficult words, take it outside! Don’t make them stand on a pedestal and read to the community; rather, continue your home exercises, but on a bench at the park. As the child reads to you outdoors with people around, their confidence will build and they will have a much easier time with public speaking.
As your child improves their public reading skills, their confidence will build and you may even find that their overall performance in school improves! Many kids with a fear of reading out loud turn this fear into a disdain for school and learning. If you can help them overcome these fears, however, their love of education will grow and you can once again help them make learning fun.
To build enjoyment of reading in your child, why not take a look at one of our classic books, like the beloved story Chicken Little? Then, feel free to explore all of the other options and services we have available!