Reading is a highly beneficial activity for children, but what if your child strongly dislikes flipping the pages?
Television, video games, iPads; technology has opened the floodgates to a wider variety of pastimes for children, with the result that books may not be high on your child’s list of priorities. While most of us can agree on the benefits of reading, the truth is that some children simply do not enjoy reading a book. All hope is not lost, however. Try these simple, but meaningful steps to transform your reluctant reader into a bookworm.
Identify your child’s interests
Pay attention to your child’s interests and favourite activities, as these may indicate the types of books or texts they may gravitate toward. Perhaps your little one enjoys her weekly ballet lessons? In that case, dance-related storybooks or non-fiction may appeal to her.
Create an environment where reading is valued
Instead of placing a television in your child’s bedroom, create a reading corner. The area must be light, soft and comfortable. You can incorporate cushions, bean bags or a comfortable child-size arm chair. As a bonus, have your child can help you decorate the area so that it feels more personal to them and enhances the idea that reading can be for pleasure and not just part of school or their homework.
Incorporate reading in bonding time
Designate some time to snuggle with your child and read together. This will help them associate reading with feeling good and comfort, rather than discomfort, failure and stress. Most children want to spend time with their parents and yet many parents believe that reading with their children is reserved for those of a preschool age. This is simply not true. If your child is over the age of 7, chose an engaging text that promotes discussion, as this is paramount in the “shared reading” experience.
Having your child create their own book can be a really fun activity. A comic book format works particularly well, so pull out some old magazines and have your child cut and paste images along with some text to create their very own story book that they can read to the family.
Find the source of the problem
If you have tried all the various tips and tricks and you still have a reluctant reader on your hands, this may indicate a deeper issue. When children avoid something, it can often signal that they find it difficult and they are struggling:
- Have a look at your child’s personal library; you may find that the material is too advanced for your child, in which case you would need to lower the reading level.
- Make an appointment with your child’s school teacher to establish if there are any problems regarding your child’s reading abilities;
- You may need to take your child for an assessment to determine if there are any underlying learning issues.
- If a learning disorder is diagnosed, your child is not lost to the joys of books. Audiobooks are a fantastic way to expose them to all the developmental opportunities that come from books. Audiobooks also allow children to hear stories that might be too long or advanced for them to read themselves.
Books are like strawberries. They are delicious, so we pop them in our mouths like candy all the while forgetting that they are also good for us! Allow your children to read the books they enjoy, not just the ones you think will improve them.