Does your child look for a book to read when bored, or does he tend to reach for a video game or a tv show? Perhaps, when you ask your child to read for the 25-30 minutes of daily reading homework, does he cringe and try to find any excuses not to read?
Or when your child tells you that he is bored, do you suggest reading a book as one of the options to pass the time, and your kids look at you as if you have ten heads? If you have experienced any of these scenarios, you may have fallen victim to the anti-reading attitude!
If this is you, I want to give you a few tips that will help you conquer this monstrous attitude.
Reading for Fun is on the Slide
Some children tend to be naturally more interested in books than others. However, there are many children who may not be interested in reading when there are other options available. According to Katherine Schaeffer from Pew Research the number of American 9- and 13-year-olds who say they read for fun on an almost daily basis has dropped and it's at its lowest since the 1980's.
As a parent, we are aware that not every child will become a lover of books. However, our children should not be completely antagonistic to reading from their childhood. After all we
need to keep in mind that our children will need to be able to read in order to learn at school. They will need reading skills for science, social studies and even for math during their academic years. Therefore, it’s natural to hope and expect for our children to have a routine of reading in their lives.
Here are 10 ways to conquer the anti-reading attitude:
1. Find out your child’s reading level
When your kids pick up a book, are they able to read the content? A child has three reading ability levels: Independent level, instructional and frustrational level. A child’s independent level is the level at which your child can read the book by himself. The Instructional level is the level where your child will need a bit of help and guidance due to the presence of some multisyllabic words. Lastly, the frustrational level is the level that is too hard for your child. He will get very frustrated because the words are too complicated to read on his own.
If you are not sure how to get a book that is right for him, the 5 finger rule is a great tip I would like to share with you.
5 Finger Rule:
When I was a teacher in the classroom, many moons ago; (about 15 years!), one of my colleagues shared with me a quick way to identify if the book a student chose was the correct one. So how do you do it?
THE FIVE FINGER RULE
Select a page from the book; it could be the first page, or it could be any page!
You can ask your child to start reading and every time your child reads a word incorrectly, you will hold up a finger.
Finally, at the end of the page, take a look at how many fingers you are holding up. In order for the book to be a just right book, you should only have three fingers up. However, if you have four or five fingers up, the book is too hard for your child and he should not pick that book to read independently. This could definitely be a book that you will read to/with your child.
2. Start Slow
After your child picks a book, don’t expect for him to read for 20-30 minutes right away. Start slow, ask your child to read for a few minutes, maybe 10 or 15 minutes. In the beginning, there may still be some resistance, but do not give up! You are building a routine and you can always increase the time periodically. The goal is to whet your child’s appetite for books!
3. Bring Back the Read Aloud
Yes, you read correctly! Read aloud is a phenomenal way to
expose our children to great literature without putting the pressure on them for the actual reading. As a homeschool mom, I have had the awesome opportunity to read aloud to my girls, and I can tell you that it is one of my favorite parts of our day.
When you read to your child, you are modeling correct, and fluent reading. You also get an opportunity to ask your child questions about what you read. This is amazing for building comprehension skills. I still remember the time we read Anne of Green Gables. Not only did my girls ask many questions about the characters, the setting, and the vocabulary, but they didn’t want me to put the book down. We ended up reading like six or seven chapters in one sitting. (We usually read one chapter per day). Wow! What a simple way to make precious memories!
4. Consider their interests
Another way to get your child to pick up a book without you even saying anything is to consider what he likes. What is your child into these days? Is it animals, princesses, space, trains, cooking?
Whatever their interests are should guide you to buy or rent books from the library. They will read the books if they are available, which brings me to my next point.
5. Make them Visible
I have learned over the years that when something is not visible, we tend to forget it. So if you want your child to read books, have a basket/bin with the books that your child selected in the areas where you spend significant amounts of time. I have mine in the living room, kitchen and in our homeschooling room.
6. Schedule it
It is very helpful to have certain times during the day where your child has no other options but to read. If you need to set it where your child needs to read for 15-20 minutes before they can turn on the tv, that is okay. Your child will get into a routine and he will know he reads first.
7. Mix it up
I understand that many parents prefer that their kids read paper books, and I agree to a certain point that there is nothing like flipping actual paper pages in a book, and inhaling that old library scent. However, if your kids have an anti-reading attitude, try having a variety of options available for them to read. Paper books, digital books, audio books, wonder books (a print book with a ready-to-play audiobook inside), are all great options for your child.
8. Get Out and About
You may think that a visit to the library will not make a difference, however I am telling you that public libraries are places that should be on your list of places to visit periodically. They don't just have books but games, movies, and more. In addition the librarians are so friendly and willing to help you with ideas, recommended books and more!
When your gets to pick one or more books and then he gets play and pick a movie to watch later at home, he will be in heaven! This experience will create a feeling of comfort and delight which will aid in discarding of the anti-reading attitude.
9. Make it More Appealing
You can use a sticker chart or a bingo card to incentivize your child to read. When they complete the sticker chart or the bingo card, you can come up with a special prize like ice cream, family movie night or anything that works for you!
10. Book and a Movie!
Another way to make reading more attractive to your kid is finding books that have a movie version/versions available. If your child enjoys watching tv, he will be motivated to read in order to watch the movie for it.
This is especially true when the book is one of those books your child is interested in. After reading the book and watching the movie, you and your child will have an opportunity to discuss what you thought about both experiences. You can compare and contrast the plot, the characters and come up with your favorite version.
There you go, 10 ways you can help your child to switch the anti-reading mindset into one where reading happens as part of the positive daily routine. As you apply these different tips, your child will begin to enjoy reading more, one book at a time. Your child may even end up falling in love with reading, or they may end up just enjoying it a little bit. This process will probably take some time, but it is definitely worth it.
If you read this blog and need some assistance with any of the ways I have suggested here, please do reach out to me via e-mail email@example.com or via my Instagram Account @acceleratetutoringny and I will be more than glad to help you.