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How to Help Your Child Become More Interested in Reading
Do you ever wish that your child enjoyed reading more than he or she does? Some children take longer to become proficient readers, and the ones who struggle will often view reading as a rather unpleasant task. But it doesn’t have to stay that way. If you’re wanting to help your child become more interested in reading, here are a few tips from a former teacher.
First and foremost, don’t become a reading drill sergeant! You want to encourage your child to love reading; you don’t want to stand over him with a scowl and a whistle and make him hate reading forever. Gently encourage him, but allow him to take the lead. You’ll see faster gains if you let him decide on his own that he actually likes to read.
Find Interesting Reading Materials
One of the absolute best things that you can do to help your child develop a love for reading is to find reading materials that she genuinely enjoys. Consider your child’s interests, and carefully, thoughtfully choose reading materials that she’ll want to read. And don’t assume that she needs to be reading chapter books. She may need smaller, easier chunks of text or lots of pictures, but don’t push her towards something that she’s not ready for. You may want to consider other options such as picture books, graphic novels, nonfiction books, or even magazines. If your daughter is a horse lover, she may be more likely to willingly flip through thin nonfiction books about horses. If your son loves comic books, he’ll probably enjoy reading graphic novels. If your daughter is a huge soccer fan, find a good soccer magazine that she can read. If your son loves action and adventure, search for titles that have plenty of both. Trust me, there will be plenty of time for required reading later in life, but while you’re trying to instill a love of reading, help your child find things that she’ll love to read.
Provide Materials but Let Your Child Choose
Enlist the help of the librarian at your child’s school or the youth librarian at your local library. Let them help you find reading materials that your child is likely to enjoy. And if you don’t have time to consult with a real person, there are tons of great booklists online that should help you narrow your search. Once you’ve found reading materials that you think your child will enjoy, set a pile of likely candidates in front of him and walk away. Don’t hover. Don’t nag. Don’t help him choose. Let him look through that pile of books and decide what peaks his interest. He’ll be more likely to try reading something if he’s had the chance to choose it himself.
Be a Good Role Model
And remember that your role as the parent is critical. If your kids never see you reading, they’re not going to understand why you’re trying to get them to enjoy reading. Let them see you reading. Read with them and talk about what you’re reading. Read books to them (yes, even teenagers benefit from having books read to them!). Listen to audio books in the car. Let your kids see how enjoyable reading can be, and they’re much more likely to follow suit.
Don’t Give Up
If you’re truly concerned about your child, check with his teacher or school librarian. These are people who can give you great advice tailored to your specific child, but in the meantime, start with these suggestions. If you want your child to love reading, it’s going to be up to you to make it seem like a positive, fun, worthwhile pastime. And if he doesn’t take to it right away, don’t worry. Just keep a positive, light-hearted attitude about it and keep providing interesting reading materials, and you’ll eventually see an amazing amount of progress!
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