So you’ve had a long day and work was particularly stressful. You know that when you get home, your child needs to read the book they’ve been assigned from school. And while reading time should be one of the activities both you and your child enjoy, you find it is an uphill battle that never seems to end. Perhaps the issue is persuading your child to get this task done since they hate reading out loud or maybe there’s an underlying issue to their aversion to reading in general.
If this is a scenario familiar to you, then we want to encourage you with the reality that many other parents across the world also face these same issues. You shouldn’t blame yourself or feel as though you are at fault for your child not wanting to do their reading, but remember that you can be a major help in turning things around.
To begin with, we’ll outline a few things that you’ll want to avoid in motivating reluctant readers.
Firstly, you shouldn’t force your child to read. While this may be effective temporarily, by getting them to complete the reading task set by their school. In fulfilling the long-term goal, however, which is to help them develop a genuine interest in reading, you’ll want to help them foster this habit instead. As tempting as it may be, you’ll want to encourage them to embark on the journey but you don’t want to forcefully lead them there. Instead, you should aim to be the helping hand to get them started.
Second, if you take your child to a bookshop or library, you should give them the option of choosing a book they’d like to read. They can, of course, ask the librarian if they’d like, but you should grant them the autonomy of selecting a book they are most interested in.
1. Model a Habit of Reading
Children are used to learning by imitation, so if your child sees you reading, they will learn to associate this as something valuable and something that they too should do.
So, the next time you’re reading a novel, magazine, or some form of reading material, know that you are modelling the behaviour you want your child to model.
2. Try to Find Multiple Reading Materials
Reading for most children – especially those at primary school age – of course is limited to fictional hardbacks books alone. So in your attempt to inspire your child to read, you can introduce them to multiple types of reading materials. This range of materials can be child-friendly magazines, newspapers, graphic novels, or the books of their favourite films. Have fun with this and allow them to see the breadth of the reading world. This should open their eyes to the possibilities that are available when it comes to reading.
3. Start With a Game!
As we mentioned earlier, reading isn’t a monolithic practice, it comes in many forms and should be explored as such. Try finding a word-related game that your child can get stuck in. These could be online, Wordsearch printouts, scrabble, and any others that you can find. If you’re lost for ideas, a great go-to is the folded line-by-line story. It’s really simple! You take a piece of a4 paper and fold it eight times vertically. You write the first line and fold the paper over so the next person can’t see what you wrote. They will write their line or lines and do the same. You continue this till you reach the end of the page and read the story aloud. Of course, the aim of this game should be for your child to read the page out at the end, but is nonetheless a great way to keep them engaged.
4. Read to Your Child
This one may sound strange, but when trying to motivate a reluctant reader, sometimes you need to ease them into it. If your child is in ks2, then you may want to read the majority of the set pages for that day and start them off by reading the last line, then paragraph, then page, and so on till they’ve built that confidence. Reading doesn’t have to be a gruelling experience, and if you allow your child to go at the pace that they feel most comfortable (with some much-needed encouragement and support from you), they should be reading in no time!
And if you’re looking for even more tips to encourage your child to read, then watch this video together: