How to Encourage your Child to Read

How To Encourage Your Child to Read

As a teacher one of the perennial struggles I have had is with students who do not read. On the secondary level my students felt that a reading assignment for homework was essentially no homework. On the elementary level this meant that students were not doing the required nightly reading of 15-20 minutes per night. Since I dealt with struggling readers this was a very sad situation. Yes, many of these students had real disabilities but no they also read very little outside of reading class. For some there was no one who cared enough to sit down and read with them. I have dealt with many parents who really tired to help their child read but encountered much resistance from the child. As someone who was forced to learn to read I can relate to the child. As a 6 year old I was determined not to read. I didn’t need to read and didn’t want to sit still long enough to learn. I even told my mom, the reading specialist, that she couldn’t make me learn. Well, I guess you can figure out who won that battle. So here my suggestions:

Start early. When your child is an infant have books as well as toys for your child to play with or rather chew on. More importantly read to them. It is never to early to read to your child. An infant may not understand what is being read but rather the sound of your voice and being held. I am reminded of the scene from Three Men and a Baby where Tom Sellec’s character is reading the sports section the baby. He reads it as like he is reading a story book.

Predictable books and rhyming books. Books like Dr. Seuss and Eric Carle books are great because children can catch on to the pattern of the book and “read” with you. Model tracking or pointing to the words as you read. This is especially great with the books your child has memorized.

Find what interests your child. Read books about things that your child is interested in. One of the reasons I am a reader today is because of books about horses especially the ones by C.W. Anderson. According to a reading inventory I was never supposed to learn to read but I have been reading on a post secondary level since about 5th grade.

Make reading time special. As a child one of my favorite things each week was to sit in my daddy’s lap and read the Sunday Comics. My daddy had a background in the broadcast industry and he had a great voice. I enjoyed listening to all of the voices. When I finally learned to read I enjoyed reading with him.