When I meet a child who is a reluctant reader and am asked by parents what they should do about it, the first question I like to ask is, “Did you like to read as a child”. Invariably one or both of the parents didn’t.
They would have rather been out playing.
To sit and read was torture.
So my first response is, “Sounds like your child comes by his (or her) preferences honestly”.
Now does this mean they won’t read? Absolutely not. But let’s start with there is probably something natural about their preferences.
The next question I like to ask is, “When was the last time you read a book”.
We know children like to imitate behavior they see. If your child never sees you reading, it is much less likely they are going to read. We try to give our children healthy examples in what we eat, in our exercise, and in our relationships; why do we neglect reading?
So if you want your child to read, YOU need to read. Set up a family read time where everyone puts down their phones, their crafts, their activities and read. Start with 10 minutes. Make it non – interrupted time. Unless the house is on fire there is no reason for anyone to move. And everyone reads.
Treat this time as vital. Treat it as the most important part of the day. In my classroom everyday before reading I said, “This is the most important thing we will do, don’t waste it”. And I treated it that way. Have that time in your house everyday.
Make a bedtime story an important part of your day. Read aloud something. Whether it is a chapter book or picture book, read aloud everyday. I suggest bedtime because your child will quickly learn that the longer you read, the longer they get to stay awake. Somehow that motivation often helps the reluctant reader.
So let’s review
- Recognize that your child may not be the first reluctant reader around!
- YOU read everyday in front of your child.
- Read aloud to your child at bedtime
What changes can you make to your own reading routine to support your reluctant reader?