German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer said, “Reading is equivalent to thinking with someone else’s head instead of with one’s own.” Reading is one of the greatest pleasures and arts in the world as it can draw excitement, fear, laughter, tears, wisdom and understanding.
Many children do not enjoy reading, unfortunately. There could be a variety of reasons, such as boredom, paucity of time, the feeling of unimportance, difficulty level and a lack of fun. According to ReadFaster.com, only 49 percent of high school students read more than 10 books a year, only 44 percent of fourth grade students can read fluently and 26 percent of twelfth graders were unable to read at the basic level.
With all of the obstacles and avoidance of reading, what can parents, family members, friends and educational professionals do to encourage children at a young age to read more? Here are some tips to make reluctant readers become avid readers.
What does your child like? Has he or she shown any interest in anything particular? If so, that’s a hook to get your child to begin to read. If your son and/or daughter enjoy magic then the Harry Potter series would be a good idea or if your child likes suspense or mystery then the works of Edgar Allan Poe would suffice.
If there is a scene of the book that seems to really excite your child then why not act it out? One does not have to go overboard, but a chapter that consists of two people can easily be acted out. This makes reading come to life, thus proving even more fun for children.
Be the change
One must never dictate certain tasks to be accomplished if one does not conduct them as well. In other words, parents should not order their children to read when they don’t read as well. Children will be encouraged pick up a book if their parents read too.
Family reading time
One night of the week, shut off the television and let one person of the family read a book out loud for an hour or two. Not only does this bring the family together, but it enhances reading skills, comprehension and even intrigue to other literary genres.
This may seem like common sense, but a novice in the world of books may think that one must finish a book in an entire sitting. Of course, to the average reader this does not need to happen, so introduce a special bookmark to the young reader and explain they can read the book at another time.
Whatever it is, ask the child to read something out loud. It could be a newspaper article, the headlines on the bottom of CNN, cooking instructions, road signs, food labels and anything else that requires a set of eyes.
Children like to stay up late, like adults, so give them the extra few minutes for constructive tasks, such as reading and writing. Furthermore, during the gift-giving days, why not treat the children to books instead of video games?
Remember, nagging, begging, bribing and even forcing do not work and will not garner a child’s interest or reading comprehension. Being respectful of a child’s limitations, being encouraging to a child’s sometimes slow progress and being involved in a child’s interests is quite important.