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As teachers and parents, we are always looking for clever ways to motivate our children to adore reading. That’s what every parent wants, right? A book lover. An avid reader. A bookworm. But let’s be honest, some children really hate reading and will avoid it at all costs. Here are five ways to encourage reading, hopefully transforming a very reluctant reader into a bookworm!
*Guest post by Sarah from Stay at Home Educator
Alliteracy (not illiteracy, but alliteracy) is becoming an increasing problem among schoolchildren.
What is alliteracy, you ask?
It is the complete disinterest in reading.
It’s when a person has the ability to read, but simply choosing not to because they “don’t like it.”
It’s equally as tragic as being illiterate, which is why these five secrets to transforming reluctant readers into bookworms are so important!
5 Secrets to Encourage Reading
Allow Children to Read for Interest
Yes, its important for children to read text that is appropriate for their skills level, but it’s equally as important, if not more important, for children to read text that is of interest to them.
A reluctant reader might resist the reading anthology assigned in their reading block as school, however that same reader might be willing to try The Guinness Book of World Records or a short chapter book about a girl who raises puppies.
Along similar lines, it’s important to not overwhelm children with their text of interest.
Just because little Johnny went berry picking while camping one time last summer doesn’t mean that the survival book “Mud, Sweat and Tears” by expert Bear Grylls is appropriate. Start small and build up.
Remove the Pressure
Pounding skills practice isn’t helpful either. While is is true that reluctant readers also tend to be poor readers, letting them feel the heat of standardized testing will only extinguish what little confidence they have to begin with.
Instead, encourage reading by teaching skills in fun and engaging ways all year round.
Make It Chore-Free
It’s no secret that reluctant readers also resist doing reading reports, writing essays and filling out reading logs.
That’s because these exercises feel like chores to them. In particular reading logs are an extremely popular way for encouraging reading at home.
Teachers often require children to record a book title and summary of what they read each night in addition to counting their minutes.
Reluctant readers don’t like that and are not motivated to read when they have a blank reading log staring them in the face. (Because many reluctant readers are also reluctant writers.)
Make Reading Active
One of the best ways to encourage reading in kids is to pair books with activities. For many children, this is the key to helping books come to life.
Have your class cut out snowflakes from white paper and compare their differences when reading books like “Snowflake Bentley,” or invite your child to play with loose parts of metal washers, bolts, rubber bands, pine cones and such after reading “Boy + Bot”.
The possibilities are endless for making books really come alive.
Advice from Famous Writers
Mark Twain once said, “If a cat sits on a hot stove, that cat won’t sit on a hot stove again. That cat won’t sit on a cold stove either. That cat just don’t like stoves.”
The point is, if reading is made boring and painful for children, they will be reluctant to read and will avoid it at all costs.
If they are forced into it, they will resist. If children are assigned meaningless tasks to track or complete their reading, the reluctant reader will remain reluctant.
Instead, focus on ways to encourage reading by taking the pressure off and following the child’s interests.
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