Given the importance of literacy, it’s natural to be keen to encourage your child to read and to become an enthusiastic, independent reader. However, it can be all too easy to feel pressured by this, especially when your child is resistant to reading even for short bursts of 15 minutes. This situation can be frustrating, but, with some ideas to explore, you can identify the cause and find a solution.
Reading fluently opens up a world of possibilities for your child’s imagination and personal self-development. Confident readers can access the riches found between the covers of a book. It’s not just stories and literature that being a keen reader makes accessible, though: It’s important to be able to read well if you want to understand Math questions, follow instructions in Science class, or follow a complex recipe.
Children – and adults too – like to read books about topics that interest them. For younger children, this also means the cover, illustrations, and how easy the book is for them to handle. “Let your child have some input choosing the books they want to read – even if you don’t think they’re good quality yourself. The important thing is that they’re reading and feel positive about books. Let your child choose from the Children’s section at the library, or in the bookstore” notes parenting consultant, Marisa Fotherington, at Writinity and Last minute writing. Graphic novels are a great choice for older readers. Also, consider that reading non-fiction’s still reading. Don’t get hung up on the type of books. The main thing is finding enjoyable material.
One thing you need to bear in mind, though, when allowing your child to choose their reading material, is the level of reading ability this requires. You may find that your child loves the Harry Potter films, for instance, and is therefore drawn to the books but finds them a little too taxing for their reading level. You can read the books along with them, helping them with words they can’t decode and discussing their meaning and context. It’s a great way to have bonding reading time with your child and you can guide them to books they can more confidently read on their own at another time. This method can also be used for readers who like to choose books that they can read comfortably, but are reluctant to develop their reading skills further.
Just like any good habit, reading is best done consistently. Mark Blithely, child development blogger at Draft Beyond and Research papers UK, suggests, “Establishing a reading routine is just as important as setting a bedtime, meal time, or teeth brushing regime. If your child finds reading time difficult, it can be easy to let it go for a day or two and get out of routine, making them reluctant to pick up the schedule again. Try to be consistent about the time that you read – be it straight after dinner or at bedtime – stick to a pattern. However, try and be flexible about the length of time you then spend reading, or the type of books you had planned to read if your child becomes reluctant.”
You may find that your child is struggling with reading because of their reading skills. Sounding out words can be difficult. This can be for a number of reasons. At this point, talk with their teacher and share your concerns. Reading is a difficult process and many children will face issues that their teacher will be familiar with and happy to explore. You may also want to make sure your child can see the text properly. This can be investigated by a suitably qualified optometrist.
Reading For Life
In the end, it’s so important to recall what a challenging ongoing task learning to read was for all of us. Your child has a supportive parent who will encourage them along their journey at their pace and that is wonderful. But don’t forget to be a good role model, too, and let them see you as a keen reader of a variety of texts yourself! Gentle guidance and leading by example is the key to success.
Ashley Halsey is a writer at Finance Assignments and an educator at Gum Essays. As a teacher at schools, Ashley has been based all over the Middle East. Most recently she has worked in Doha in the role of head teacher at an English language school.