A few years ago, I was talking to my then 6-year-old son. He was in the midst of first grade and learning how to read. I was beyond excited for this stage in his life. I had dreamt of having him sit on my lap to read one of our favorite books to me in that sweet innocent voice. But in fact, this was not our reality at all. My child did not enjoy reading. He only practiced when forced, and complained about reading every single time. It wasn’t only a struggle at home, but at school as well. Even though he was learning and making progress, the love and curiosity of reading was sadly missing.
My entire job as an adult was teaching children. Not only did I love teaching, but I felt it was my duty as a teacher to instill the love of learning and reading. I was so passionate about teaching kids to read. I loved showing them strategies to be successful and confident readers. To enable them to independently escape into a book while learning new vocabulary and reading skills. And in my very own home, I was struggling to help my own child.
Needless to say, I pulled out all the stops, and after some trials and failures, I was able to figure out how to have more successes than failures. Below are some of the reading strategies that helped my son slowly gain that love of reading.
Many kids look at a page of text and crumble. They get overwhelmed with the amount of words and often give up or feel frustrated before they start. I have found that taking the pressure off my child from reading all the words can be very encouraging. We take turns reading, which not only motivates the kids to read longer, but the other reader is able to model fluency, syntax, and pronunciation of vocabulary.
Image heavy texts
From my own experience, my son starting getting excited about choosing his own texts when he started reading graphic novels. These types of books, as well as books with a lot of great illustrations, lure the kids into the story. The illustrations are also a great tool to help students who may struggle with reading, and gives them imagery for story context.
Choose texts based on their interests
This seems like an obvious one…but it makes a difference. Kids will want to read about what they like. If they love animals, try reading animal books. If they love soccer, find some books about famous soccer players or a storyline that revolves around the sport. The more they are intrigued about the subject matter, the better chance they will try to find out by reading it.
Use various forms of text
Sometimes, all kids need is a different format to read from. I love eBooks to change things up. I take advantage – when my son really wants to use the iPad, I have him read an eBook before he plays a game. I love the eBooks and content on Genius Plaza, because there are so many different types of books that intrigue him.
We must remember that reading is a lifelong process. All it takes is one book, one topic, one person to change the course of our child’s love for reading. Being supportive and continuously providing engaging material are the most important things we can do to make our child’s reading career a successful one.