We read several books each day and coming from a house filled with books it is very difficult to imagine a life without reading, a childhood without stories, no snuggling cuddles under favourite blankets with a good book. As a teacher I met parents who could not read or write and it made me appreciate being able to read even more to see their stunned joy when their own child is able to read well and enjoy reading. Reading is so important and sharing stories is a wonderful way to spend time with family. Reading is also free if you make use of your local library. If you or your children aren’t members of your local library go along and get your library card and make a visit to the library part of your week. Use these wonderful places, as if you don’t they will disappear, as many already have done.
Tips for Reluctant Readers
If you think your child is a reluctant reader don’t panic! There are lots of things you can do to encourage a love of reading:
- If your child is reluctant to read, or listen to you reading, don’t make it a chore or something they have to do. Stay relaxed, reading should be enjoyable and fun, not a battleground.
- When you read together make it special. Make sure you turn off the television or the radio and put your mobile phone down. Snuggle under a favourite blanket or make some hot chocolate. Make the time when you are reading for enjoyment cosy, relaxed and inviting.
- If your child is at school and has reading homework try and make sure that isn’t the only reading that you do together. Have another book/magazine/paper/comic on the go, that your child has chosen just for you to read together, for fun!
- Have a look around your home. Are there some lovely children’s books lying in amongst your kids toys? Can your kids access books that they might want to read? Make sure your kids have the ability to easily pick up books around the house.
- Let your child choose what they want to read, or you to read to them. If they only want to read comics, non-fiction, or the sports pages of the newspaper then encourage it, all reading is good reading.
- When your child chooses a book and you have already read ‘that one’ one hundred times before, don’t begrudge reading it again. Children love repetition and returning to stories they know well.
- Be an example to your kids. Have they ever seen you sitting down and reading a book? Even if it is for just five minutes a week, try and make a time when you sit down and just read. Show your kids that you are a reader.
- If you think that your child isn’t interested in books sit down with one of your favourite picture or story books from your childhood. Read your favourite books and laugh, point and smile. One day they might sidle up next to you whilst you are having such a great time reading and ask you to read it to them.
- Don’t stop reading to your kids. Whether your kids are babies, toddlers, children or tweens. As a teacher I always read to my classes (even 10 and 11 year olds) and it was a part of the day everyone always enjoyed. Bedtime stories don’t need to end and reading a chapter book together can really motivate your kids to move on in their own independent reading.
- If your child just can’t sit down to read then make reading part of your day-to-day activities. Read a recipe together, go on a scavenger hunt where some or all the clues are written, play with words and letter - make letters out of play dough, draw them in sand, make them out of sticks… the possibilities are endless.