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Molding Little Readers

“I hate reading!” This is perhaps one of the most painful lines a parent will hear. But it does not have to be the case. There are ways to encourage our little ones to want and enjoy reading. We do not need the experts to tell us that reading is important. However, some tips to encourage our little ones to read, especially when we know that they can, may be helpful.

We already know, through studies and a little common sense, that reading expands thinking, fuels our imagination, builds our creativity and can be quite pleasurable. Reading can also become a struggle for a child who is not used to reading. It is a struggle that can be frustrating for a child who is constantly nagged into reading and heartbreaking for parents watching their child struggle. But that is not the end of the line. The first step to encouraging your child to read is to know your child’s reason for not wanting to read. His/her reason can help you decide on what you can do to encourage and motivate reading. You may have heard the line, “it’s boring”. Exposing your child to topics that they find interesting. This can easily solve the problem of being bored of books.

We may not be able to control what our children read in school but we can allow them the opportunity of a fun, yet educational library at home. For some children, especially those who have difficulty reading, reading can look like a chore. Even for children with strong reading skills, reading can cause some anxiety when mixed with the pressure of performance from school and home. It may be a good idea to remove the pressure by not forcing your child to read. Kids are often busy with school, homework, after school activities, chores and television or video games. Helping your child to schedule their reading time may relieve anxiety and give him/her a feeling of accomplishment when they complete a task. Speak with his/her teacher on your child’s reading abilities. Find books that match your child’s abilities to help him/her feel comfortable reading. Some parents have said that their children seem encouraged to read after seeing their parents reading. Practicing what you preach (in this case read) may be one way to encourage an avid reader. Not Too Much Pressure We have spoken to some parents who were willing to share their stories on helping a struggling reader. One1_Fall_2015-21

Here are some of the methods that worked for them to encourage reading: Nagging was top on the list of no-nos. Children seem to resent a parent or guardian who hounds them about the importance of reading. Avoid criticizing or judging your child’s ability. Reading almost anything is better than not reading, so encourage reading for pleasure. Even if your child chooses a simple read, something with too many pictures, or a topic that doesn’t interest you, keep your thoughts hidden. Remember, the aim is to build your child’s confidence in reading while respecting their right to their preference. Play games together that require reading. Your child may not realize that while playing, they are also improving their reading skills. Cheer your child on at every small signs of progress. A reluctant reader will want to read more if they know that their efforts are appreciated. There is nothing wrong with giving a little reward for your child’s efforts for reading but be sure that your child does not expect one after reading every book. Praising your child may be a better form of reward to encourage him/her to the next book. In time your child will see that the reward is reading. At the same time, avoid pressuring your child into reading. The
last thing anyone wants is a child who reads only to please his or her parent. That would surely kick the fun out of it.

15 Ideas To Encourage Reading Some children do not like reading. They either do not think that it’s worth it or simply boring. But that does not mean that we have to give up. There are ways that we can encourage our children to read and find immense pleasure in reading. Find material on topics of interest that your children may enjoy. Encourage them to choose their own books at the library. Let them see you reading. Set aside daily reading time. Most schools encourage at least fifteen minutes per day. Pay attention to what interest your child and provide information on his/her interests. Ask for your child’s assistance in a project (cooking for example). Let him/her read out instructions. Ask older siblings to read. It may serve as a good motivator for a younger child. Read to your child. Play games that are word related, like scrabble. Ask your child to assist in writing up the grocery or to-do list. Allow your child to read restaurant menus, flight plans, traveling itinerary etc. Encourage your child to read to you. Read short stories or passages together. Do not criticize or bring attention to mispronounced words. A child may become too conscious of pronunciation and he/she may be become embarrassed about reading.
Create, with your child’s help, your child’s personal library. Give your child a bookmark to take away the pressures of completing a book right away.

Allow your child extra time to finish up a book. It counts as an incentive. Books should not be limited to only serious topics. Introduce books of humor and light tales. Limit television time. This will allow your child more time for reading. It may not be a good idea to use television as a reward though. Please speak with your child’s teacher if you suspect a learning problem. Early testing administered at your child’s school can also identify a learning disability and alert the school to your child’s need for special teaching.

Image courtesy of Ambro & Surachai at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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