It may be hard to hear your child declare a dislike of reading, but there is a reason for it—probably several, in fact. Children who lack some of the building blocks essential for reading fluency and comprehension might find the entire process frustrating and avoid it altogether. What can you do?
Make sure your child has the basics down, then help him or her rediscover reading as an enjoyable pastime. Here are several tips:
READ TOGETHER, AND PAY ATTENTION
You may not be an expert in reading instruction, but if you observe children’s reading, you will pick up what they do well and where they have difficulty. Listen for how they sound out words and word sounds (phonics) and whether they recognize sight words that don’t sound like they are spelled (for example, the). Take note of whether your child recognizes patterns and letter behaviors and decodes words to break down longer words into smaller words.
LET YOUR CHILD CHOOSE HIS OR HER OWN READING MATERIAL
Whatever type of reading material piques your child’s interest, go with it. The more children pick their own books, the more interested in it they will be. Don’t rule out magazines, comic books, articles, riddles and other forms of reading. Go to the library often, and let your child wander. Get the help of the librarian, too; they are very familiar with how to engage reluctant readers with the right type of books and other materials. Sometimes, it takes finding the right books to engage your child in reading.
TRY TO MAKE READING FUN
It’s hard to do when your child has lost interest in reading, but do your best to encourage him or her to read and make reading fun. For younger children, try matching words and pictures to work on vocabulary. Play word Bingo and other word games. Read fun and interesting books as a family with hot chocolate or lemonade after dinner a few nights a week. And as much as possible, let your child see you reading and talking about what you read with enthusiasm.
DON’T PUSH TOO HARD
To struggling students, reading feels daunting and stressful. Try to ease their minds a bit by setting small goals—15 minutes a day for starters. Every day your children read, encourage them to try reading on their own first. If they get stuck on a word or section, they can always come to you with questions. Establish the habit, but don’t force reading. If there’s a problem, it needs to be addressed before your child will ever embrace reading by choice.
WHEN ALL ELSE FAILS, READ TO YOUR CHILD
This might not work with older children, but if your younger child resists reading, read to him or her instead. Developing that listening comprehension and understanding of language is important. Plus, reading aloud will introduce your child to the joy of getting lost in a good story. Do this as much as you can while your child is still developing his or her own reading skills.
The Huntington Learning Center Gulfport is located at 8950 Lorraine Road, Unit E, Gulfport. Contact the center at (228) 206-2353.