5 TIPS to Help Your Child Want to Read this Summer!
Mommy, I already told you I don’t want to read! It’s hot and it’s summer. School’s out. You’re asking yourself, “How do I keep my children busy?” I know, we’ll go to the library every week and pick out books for them to read. We’ll have quiet reading time every day for a half hour. So, you bring the stack of books home and there they sit on the table. Your child won’t go near them!
What’s wrong? Reluctant readers are often struggling readers, so creating safe, comfortable environments where fluent reading is modeled and where children are set up for success is key. Though there is not an easy answer, with a little focus and direction, you can help give your child the reading boosts they need. It’s not magic, but every little step helps.
TIP #1: Zero in on the child’s interests. Before you do anything, take a step back and examine what interests, excites or intrigues your child. Knowing what interests, him can help you pinpoint what types of texts he may enjoy reading.
TIP #2: Start small. Just because your child likes to ride horses doesn’t mean he needs to start by reading the A-Z History of Horseback Riding; that may be intimidating—especially for a reluctant reader. Instead, consider watching a movie about horses, like Seabiscuit.
If the topic of interest doesn’t lend itself to watching a related program or movie, start small by finding a magazine or graphic novel at the library that relates to the subject. Reading doesn’t need to begin with a chapter book; many other texts and various genres can be worthwhile for these readers.
TIP #3: Practice shared reading. Shared reading or reading as a collective experience could entail taking turns reading pages, sections or chapters, or you and your child silently reading the same book. Shared reading can vary depending on your child’s age and needs.
Shared reading is an often-overlooked and underappreciated technique for engaging reluctant readers. Most kids really want to spend time with their parents, but once children reach seven or eight years old, many parents don’t view reading together as an option; they think that’s reserved for preschool or early elementary school days.
For the ideal shared reading experience, choose texts that are rich, engaging and sure to lead to discussion. Part of the “sharing” in shared reading involves talking about the book. Perhaps several of your child’s friends and their parents can start a book club where texts read through shared reading are discussed in a welcoming environment. If book groups are not an option, find a reliable, child-safe website where your child can post a review of that book or encourage him or her to start a book review journal.
TIP #4: Read the TV. A blogger shared that she lets her son watch SpongeBob SquarePants without sound. It’s the only way she’ll let him watch cartoons because she makes it educational—he reads the captions. The foregoing is adapted from Book Love: Help Your Child Grow from Reluctant to Enthusiastic Reader by Melissa Taylor, M.A.
TIP #5: Positive versus negative incentives for Reading
What will work to motivate children to read? For many decades parents and teachers have relied upon gimmicks and punishment to motivate. Do you recognize any of these?
POSITIVE: Discount coupons; Money; Stickers; Prizes; Pencils; T-shirts
NEGATIVE: Threats; Privileges taken away; Time out; Losing money or points; Yelling; Scorn
“The best way to reward children for reading is to give them more books and time to read them.” Based on a study conducted by Jeff McQuillan, an assistant professor of education at Arizona State University. We are all individuals when it comes to motivation. Books are without a doubt a great reward to motivate. BUT…Let’s think outside the box for a minute! Here are some suggestions that just might find that motivational sweet spot in your child courtesy of “Reading Rewards” http://www.reading-rewards.com/ :
For 100 reading minutes, your child can buy a 5 minute tickle session with dad. How cute!
For 30 reading minutes, “snuggle time with mom or dad”. What child doesn’t thrive on special moments with mom and dad? And it is a reward for moms and dads too!
For 60 reading minutes, your child can “purchase” 30 minutes of TV/game console/computer time. But limit their purchasing power…keeping in mind that too much screen time is a negative.
For 500 reading minutes, your child gets a sleep over. Now, this may be one of those “are you kidding” moments for some parents! Substitute a day outing, or special activity like skating, going to the park with friends, etc. Peace out!
For 250 reading minutes, your child gets to play a board game with mom and/or dad. Candyland anyone?
For 750 reading minutes, your child can be chef for a day…or half a day…or an hour. Bake some cupcakes to decorate or let them choose and help prepare supper.