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Reading – Parents Can Help

by Margot F. | January 1st, 2014 | Elementary, School

mom n girl reading“I hate reading!” Whether these words are exclaimed directly or indirectly through evasive behavior, encouraging an older child to read can be challenging, but possible.

The term “reluctant reader” refers to pupils who struggle with reading. There can be many reasons, including poor ability to decode words, problems comprehending the material, and lack of motivation to learn how to read. Regardless of the reason, there are a few ways to help your child.

Setting aside a specific time each day to read to your child will show that reading is important and give a chance to share quiet time during a hectic schedule. Let the child choose the material. Magazines, comics and graphic novels are all excellent choices. Set either a digital timer or cell phone to five minutes. Placing the device where it is visible for both child and parent indicates when the reading will finish. At first this might seem awkward, but by starting with easier material that interests both parties, it should become routine.

By reading out loud and pointing to the words, the child will learn the connection between what she/he hears and the printed words. Discuss pictures and ask questions about the characters and plot. What is going on here? How do you feel about what happened?

Audio books are helpful because the narrator reads the story clearly and then says when to turn the page. A child could make their own audio book by writing a few lines, reading the words into a recording device and later playing back the material to someone.

Read short plays where the child chooses the part. Making paper masks and then performing the play to family and friends can be a fun activity that helps build self-esteem.

Make cookies with the child reading out the ingredients and directions for the recipe. Eating the treat later provides a reward for his/her effort.

A friend mentioned that although her son generally disliked reading, he would read the free newspaper handed out at the bus stop. The format of the tabloid newspapers is perfect for reluctant readers because of the large color pictures and few words. The message is conveyed clearly and concisely.

After Christmas is a perfect time to write short notes or e-mails thanking friends and relatives for gifts. The child learns the importance of showing appreciation and has the chance to practice reading and writing skills.

Did the child receive a game or tech gadget with instructions? Looking at the written information and trying to figure out what it means helps the child learn reading strategies. Playing the game together afterwards can be fun and a great reward for both parties.

Encouraging your child’s efforts to read is very important. Knowing that a parent or caregiver recognizes the child’s hard work will build self-esteem and create more opportunities for the child to try to read. Reading comes in many forms; help your child find the material that interests them. When a child feels successful reading, everyone benefits.

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