What do you do when your child would rather do anything else than read? It can be really frustrating as a parent if your child has no interest or worse still an aversion to reading. You know that you need to encourage them to read to improve their literacy skills but what do you do when it becomes a battle rather than a source of enjoyment?
Reading is a skill just like any other. And when you do not have the basic skills then for some children trying to gain the skills becomes worse than not trying. Imagine you were learning to play tennis. How motivated would you be if the ball never went over the net? It wouldn’t be much fun would it, especially if the other player was getting stressed about it.
So the key is to relax yourself. Find ways to have fun reading in different situations. Reading doesn’t just have to be sitting down with a book.
If your child is struggling to read and is spending more time stumbling over the words try reading the book to the child first. Then let your child have a go at filling in some of the blanks that you leave. Then try taking turns reading a page or line. Make sure the book is about something that the child is really interested in. Try and find interesting facts books on a topic they enjoy such as sharks, dinosaurs or soccer. If the subject matter is interesting then your child is more likely to want to master the skills to decode the information.
There are lots of tools available online that can support your child’s reading skills whilst they are having fun. Educational games can improve language development, word recognition or spelling. Kids usually love using the computer and game based learning can be great fun as well as educational.
E-Books that are animated and read the story aloud as the child follows the words can present reading in a different medium which is removed from the normal associations they have with sitting down to read a book. You can also let them master the tool themselves to develop their self confidence. Look out for books where emerging readers can have a go themselves and click on a word to hear it spoken.
Try playing word games, like word snap or making words out of different letters. These can be made at home for free and introducing the fun element of play can engage a disinterested reader.
Let your child write their own stories and print them out. You could illustrate the story using images available on the internet, from magazines or let your child draw the pictures themselves. Your child will love showing and reading their books to anyone who will listen! If your child is not a confident writer, then write or type the story out for them.
Helene Goldnadel believes that if you remove the battle and encourage a love of reading using different methods your child will be developing their skills in a way that they enjoy. Just as with learning to playing tennis once one skill set is developed it encourages the desire to learn more.
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