Reading is valuable no matter how old a person is, but it is especially important for students. We know that reading:
- Promotes discovery of new things
- Increases vocabulary
- Improves concentration
- Makes readers better writers
- Makes better readers (The more you read, the better at it you are.)
- Fosters imagination
- Relieves stress
- Provides fundamental life skills
Reading opens doors to worlds well beyond the limits of time and space. Through literature we learn about people who are different from us, and discover that deep down we share similar emotions and experiences. Reading reminds us that no matter where we live, we are all connected as human beings.Unfortunately, not all students are as enthusiastic about reading as we’d like them to be. In fact, some are downright reluctant.If your young learner is a reluctant reader, don’t panic and don’t give up. First, find out why your child doesn’t like to read.
Does he or she get frustrated while reading?
Is he or she interested in reading anything?
Does he or she struggle with comprehension or decoding (ability to read the words)? Many times when a child avoids reading, it is because he or she is struggling and hasn’t yet mastered the skills necessary to read confidently and independently. If you suspect this is the case, speak with your child’s teachers about their perceptions (a child who hates reading at home may excel at it in the classroom) and about getting extra reading support. Odds are that the teachers are already trying to figure out how to help the student become a better reader and they will welcome your involvement in the process.
To help you encourage your child, we’ve spoken to reading professionals and have compiled a list of tips for getting your child, no matter his or her reading level, to not only read, but to enjoy it too.
Find high interest material. Sure we want students to read the traditional books, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a wealth of age-appropriate, non-traditional reading materials out there. The goal is to jumpstart your child’s desire to read, and whatever does that is great. So if he or she likes sports, encourage a book about baseball. If he or she likes video games, grab one of the many novels based on video games. The world of children’s and young adult fiction has greatly grown since we were kids, and you're sure to find something for even your pickiest reader.If you find that your child becomes reluctant at the mere thought of reading a novel, there are ways to “trick” them into reading. Comic books and magazines aren’t usually thought of as instructional materials, but again, the goal is to get your child comfortable and excited about reading, as well as to prepare him or her to take on more challenging content.
You can also take advantage of your child’s love of the internet. Help him or her find age-appropriate articles online that will be of interest. There are also plenty of online activities that make reading comprehension activities seem like fun games, such as on the site Reading Rockets. We won’t tell if you won’t.
Be a reading role model. There are endless possibilities for this. For one, let your child see you reading. Or read with your child. Reading aloud as your child follows along helps too, since it allows your young reader to hear the words on the page come alive as your excitement about reading is demonstrated in your voice.
Most of all, encourage your child to read at every chance possible. There is content everywhere from the back of a cereal box to the billboards on the highway. Once your child understands that reading can be fun, there will be much less reluctance when it comes to doing it in school and out.
In the words of Walt Disney: “There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate’s loot on Treasure Island.”
For more information on how you can help foster your child’s love of learning, visit our blog “Religious Learning at Home.”