Compelling Methods To Get Your Kids To Read That Work Every Time
If you think you can force your kids to do something that they don’t want to do, think again. Children don’t have concepts, such as “no pain, no gain.” Instead, they will only do something if they are deriving enjoyment from it. Their entire lives revolve around having fun.
As parents, we need to understand this. We have a view that education is a solemn and serious affair – something that will determine the course of their lives. But, as you’ll find, if you let go and don’t force anything, your children will naturally be attracted to reading because it is a method they can use to find out more about the world.
In this post, we take a look at some of the compelling methods you can use to get your kids to read more. Learn all about them below:
Get Them Interested In A Series Of Books
When it comes to reading material, kids can be surprisingly fussy. Sometimes, they’ll refuse to pick up one book (even if it is on a subject that they like), simply because it doesn’t contain characters they know.
A Series of books are helpful. If you notice that your child is enjoying a book that’s part of a collection. get them the next instalment and see how they get on with that.
Once you get them familiar with the characters, they’ll find it less demanding to pick up the book and read it. They’ll understand the characters, plot and, generally, what to expect.
Give Your Child Choice
Never try to make your child read books you think they should explore. Instead, let them choose their own direction, even if the literature itself seems a little low-brow to you.
Remember, in the early stages of reading, what matters is developing the skill. Whether your kid is consuming the finest literature isn’t actually all that important. Sentence structure, word recognition and so on are far more critical.
Be More Creative
If your child feels like reading is a chore, kids will avoid it. Instead, it needs to tie into their existing passions.
For instance, if your child loves drawing, then maybe you could work together to create a book for them. You could write sentences and then do little illustrations to go next to them.
You could also do it like a play, narrating it out loud. Your child could do the voice of some characters, and you could do the voices of others.
Create Positive Feelings Around Reading
You can also try association methods. Here you create a positive feeling in the child that they come to recognise as storytime, encouraging them to continue pursuing reading.
For example, make reading time a “special treat.” Sell it as something highly desirable that they only get to do at certain times of the week.
Talk About The Meaning Of Words
Words are a complicated subject, and it takes children many years to master them. Even some adults can struggle.
When reading with your child, be sure to talk about the meaning of the words. This extra guidance will help them understand concepts.
Also, point out that some words sound the same but mean different things. Sometimes, they are even spelt differently but said in the same way.
For older children, you can also talk more about the interpretation of a text. For instance, you could point out that some stories have different meanings to some people than others. The more background you provide, the more engaging your child will find anything you give them to read.
Read To Each Other
Storytime doesn’t have to be one-way all the time. Your child can also read to you. In fact, doing this will help their reading progress considerably. Over time, they’ll get the hang of words and be better able to put sentences together. They’ll also practice the ability to read aloud – something that many adults struggle with throughout their lives.
Letting the child take the lead helps them to feel more involved. What’s more, because they’re benefiting you and using their voice, it feels very different from conventional silent reading.
Play Word Games
One of the goals for kindergarten reading is to get children to the point where they can understand the difference between basic words. Tongue twisters are a great way to do this because they highlight the many similarities in sound and encourage children to differentiate between them.
You can also play word games. For instance, you can see how many new words you can come up with for an existing word by changing one letter at a time. For instance, “rat” could become “cat” or “rap”.
Choose Books That Are The Right Level
Handing a four-year-old War and Peace probably won’t go down well. They’ll open the first page of this giant tome and get lost because of all the complex scene-setting and narrative arc.
Instead, choose books that are at the right level for your child. Mostly, teachers should be able to provide guidance on this. However, failing that, you can also just look at the publisher’s age guide. Usually, they have one for the reading level and another for the content.
It’s a delicate balancing act, though. If you choose books that are too easy, your kid won’t feel sufficiently challenged and they may get bored. If they’re too hard, then they might give up.
If your child is reading a book, make sure that you check in regularly to see how they’re getting on with it. If it’s clear that it’s too hard, swap it out for something simpler.
Be Prepared To Go Slow
Learning to read isn’t something that happens immediately. Instead, it takes many years of practice and perseverance.
As a parent, you need to be ready for this reality. When reading with your child, take your time to say each word correctly. Pronounce everything slowly and in full, avoiding abbreviations if you can.
Go As Deep As You Can
The deeper you can go into the story, the more characters will come to life in the eyes of your children. For instance, you could discuss things like their emotions, how they managed stress and so on. You can then turn these into helpful lessons for your child that they can then take forward with them into their life.
Take Something To Read With You On Road Trips
If you’re going out anywhere or hitting the road, use any dead time for reading. Picking up a book when there isn’t much going on is a good habit to get your child into and keep them occupied. It’s a great alternative to video games or listening to music.
Make Reading Practical
We tend to view children’s reading as primarily fictional, but it doesn’t have to be. Kids can learn interesting things about the world from reading that they could never discover if they just stuck to short stories.
Getting your child an atlas of the world is a great idea. This will give them a sense of where everything is and also provide information about different geographies and cultures across the world.
Even if your children aren’t reading non-fiction, you can still make fictional books more real for them. For instance, you can ask your child how you think they felt after a certain scene. Or you can talk to them about what they might have done after the end of the book if the writer had continued the story.
If it’s a book that your child really likes, you can continue the fun by involving yourself in hands-on projects related to the story. For instance, perhaps you read a story about a little dog who gets rescued from bad owners. You might go and see the dogs and the kennels, waiting to be rehomed.
Let Them Read Their Favorite Books Again
Even if you feel like you’ve taken the same book out of the library a dozen times, don’t worry. It’s actually a good thing to allow your children to read the same text again and again.
First, it encourages them to read and practice more. But second, what seems to matter most isn’t the actual subject matter – that comes later – but instead their ability to see combinations of letters and patterns in the text. It’s this practice that makes it easier for them to read other books in the future, encouraging them to continue.
Getting kids to read books isn’t always easy. It doesn’t come naturally. Instead, it’s something that you have to nurture over a long period. The more you can create favourable conditions for reading, the more of it your child will do.
If you try to force the process, you’ll hit resistance. Just sitting down a child and telling them that they have to read will never work.
Instead, you need to engage in a type of negotiation with them. What you want is for them to enjoy reading on its own, without needing to dangle any external reward. You can do this by introducing them to the joys of plot, narrative and character.