Some children take to books like ducks to water. Others need more encouragement. Here are ways to encourage your child to read more…
Be a role model. Make time to read for your own enjoyment. Last summer’s public library reading program included a program for adults. Many people were eager to sign up their children but would cite excuses for themselves like “I don’t have time.” or “I am too busy reading to my children.”
Limit screens. I’m a lifelong bookworm and the Internet has impacted my reading time. Time watching television or surfing the Internet is ultimately less satisfying than reading, playing or creating. Children need downtime. It’s good for them to be bored sometimes. If television and organized activities are always present, children lose the ability to create their own fun. Unstructured play is crucial to healthy childhood development (but that’s another post.) Children are more likely to read when they have unscheduled time.
Use books to help children pursue their passions. The DK readers feature many high interest topics with great pictures. There are numerous Star Wars and Super Hero Books as well as books about natural disasters, sports and animals.
Boys often prefer informational books to fiction. Many of these boys are surrounded by females who tend to value fiction.. Be aware that the DK titles are more difficult than the typical easy reader. Visual appeal will attract reluctant readers.
Try poetry. Children love collections of poetry by Shel Silverstein or Jack Prelutsky. Poems can feel less intimidating than long paragraphs of text. Silly Street by Jeff Foxworthy is another good choice.
. Some children dislike reading because they are still struggling with decoding words. Being in touch with your child’s teacher is important. But keep in mind that children do not all develop at the same rate.
If your child needs to practice reading, keep the sessions short. In an earlier blog post, I recommended the You Read to Me, I Read to You books. These are set up as short poems for parents and child to read together. Or just read some silly poetry together. If your child is enjoying reading, they will make greater progress. Reading aloud to children even after they become readers can reinforce their skills and show them the possibilities that reading can offer.