Is your child a reluctant reader?
Getting your child to read can sometimes—or even always in some cases—pose challenges for you, the concerned parent. If your child isn't exactly a bookworm, it might be useful to think of your own reading experiences as a starting point.
Have you yourself ever been a reluctant reader?
So you can consider your child's favourite activities and interests as gateways to reading-proficiency development. Whether it's hockey or hip-hop music, cars or cooking, there's plenty to read about in books and magazines, and on the Internet. While experts weigh in differently about the relative merits of print versus online and electronic media, they can all probably agree on one thing: any increased interest in reading is a step in the right direction, regardless of the way the information is delivered.
Encourage the reading process
Keep an eye on what your children are reading, but do not be overly concerned if they prefer comic books to the literary classics. Remember to focus on the reading process, rather than solely on the academic worth of the content.
Read anything, anywhere
You can also empower your children by asking for their help—whether it's reading a road map or reciting the ingredients in a recipe. Such an approach, that is, reading as a means to an end, gives children a greater sense of purpose, and makes the reading experience itself more meaningful. It is also a great parent-child activity.
There are plenty of other opportunities for parents to encourage their children to read more often, and more effectively. The following list, while not exhaustive, may provide you with some useful ideas, or lead you and your children to develop your own novel and fun approaches to reading:
- If your child can recite the words to favourite songs from memory, print those lyrics. This is analogous to some musical-instruction programs, which encourage students to learn to play their instruments using simple tunes they already know.
- Lead—and read—by example. Show your children that reading can be an enjoyable pastime, rather than an obligation.
- Write to your children. Fridge-door memos and notes in school lunch bags are great opportunities for reading-comprehension development. You can also encourage other family members and friends to send written correspondence to your children.
- Play word games with your children. For example, you could ask for their help with crossword puzzles you're working on.
- Read aloud to your children. You can also involve them by having them read some of the passages aloud to you.
- Encourage your children to keep daily journals.
- Get your children to write the weekly grocery list—all items subject to parental approval of course, since good nutrition is important too.
If you're concerned about your child's reading ability and frequency, please consult your child's teacher or healthcare professional.